Caruso's attempt to return from concussion nixed
The Bulls traveled to Milwaukee without Alex Caruso (concussion) or Zach LaVine (health and safety protocols).
Before Game 5, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Caruso made an attempt to get cleared to play, but the process concluded quickly. The first step was riding a stationary bike, but he quickly developed a headache, a sign he hadn't recovered from the blow to the head suffered in Sunday's Game 4.
"He wanted to give it a go, he came back in (Tuesday evening), he said he was feeling better during the course of the day," Donovan said. "But he was not able to pass the testing and the protocols to get even to the next step, which would have been getting on the court running and shooting and doing those things."
Had Caruso passed the first stage, he likely would have gone through some basketball activities on Wednesday morning and if all went well, driven to Milwaukee to join the team. But after failing the first test, there was no point in trying again.
"You go back to square one," Donovan said. "He'd have to go back to riding the bike, then back on the court and there's not enough time to clear all that stuff to get back to playing. Pretty significant headache is what he's been dealing with."
Meanwhile, there was never any change in LaVine's status once he tested positive for COVID on Tuesday.
"He's pretty sick," Donovan said. "He's definitely under the weather, just in my conversation with him."
This is the third time in just over a year LaVine has been in the NBA's health and safety protocols.
Jones praises Butler:
Derrick Jones Jr. played for Miami when the Heat reached the 2020 Finals in the bubble and shared some thoughts on former Bulls star Jimmy Butler pushing that team through the playoffs.
"He's a great guy," Jones said. "All the backlash he was getting, I don't see where it came from actually. Just to be around him for so long and being in the bubble, just being confined around him all day, every day, he's a great guy, honestly. He just wants to win.
"He don't care about nothing else besides winning and that's the passion I love about him. He's just that type of guy."
Jones drew the line, though, at stopping by Butler's self-made coffee shop in the bubble.
"I don't drink coffee," Jones said. "My momma told me coffee stunts your growth when I was young, so I never touched it."
Donovan looks for fight:
Before Game 5 tipped off, Bulls coach Billy Donovan was asked where he found optimism the Bulls could continue the season without three key contributors -- Alex Caruso, Zach LaVine or Lonzo Ball.
"It's one of those games to me where you want to go out there and at least walk off the floor and feel like, 'OK, we got beat tonight,' rather than maybe, 'Woe is me, how are we going to do this? We've got Alex out, Zach out,'" Donovan said.
"We've earned the right to play (in Game 5) just like they've earned the right to play. So I'm excited and hopeful that our guys will go out there and take full advantage of the opportunity to compete."