White is latest Bulls player sidelined by positive COVID test
The pandemic isn't necessarily an epidemic across the NBA, but for the second time in roughly three weeks, the Bulls had a player test positive for COVID.
In this case it's guard Coby White, who will not make the road trip to New York and Brooklyn, and is expected to miss a minimum of 10 days. Center Nikola Vucevic recently sat out seven games due to a positive COVID test.
The good news is with all Bulls players vaccinated, it appears no one will be subjected to the close-contact quarantines that kept several players sidelined last season.
"We'll have to see what happens," coach Billy Donovan said after Wednesday's practice at the Advocate Center. "We're all being tested. We'll continue to get tested. And we'll find out if anything else from this transpired."
Literally dozens of NBA players have been sidelined by positive tests, despite a heavy percentage of players being vaccinated. Lakers star LeBron James went on the COVID list Tuesday, while Philadelphia's Joel Embiid recently came back from a COVID positive and said it hit him hard. He described difficulty breathing and severe headaches.
Vucevic said he experienced mild symptoms while he was sidelined and Donovan didn't have any insight on how White is feeling, since news of the positive test was so recent.
Donovan was asked if Bulls players and staff will be getting booster shots.
"Obviously, I think those are individual choices that people make," he said. "But for us, the booster shots were available.
"Last year, the thing that was crazy was you'd have guys sitting out of games that never tested positive. But because of the contact tracing, you're losing guys based on proximity, locker room, they had lunch or dinner together. So we've kind of moved past that, which is nice."
The timing is rough, since White has played in nine games after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. It looked like he was starting to get comfortable and find his shooting stroke. White scored 20 points against Orlando Nov. 26 and hit some key baskets in the fourth quarter against Charlotte Monday.
On the other hand, the Bulls should be able to fill his role at backup shooting guard with rookie Ayo Dosunmu, while maybe getting Troy Brown Jr. some playing time.
"I've got confidence in Ayo," Donovan said. "If we have to use guys off the bench, those guys have worked hard to keep themselves ready."
Zach LaVine, meanwhile, is recovering from a non-COVID illness. He played through it and scored 25 points in the win over Charlotte and was given the day off from practice. LaVine is expected to play Thursday in New York.
"Zach is feeling better," Donovan said. "I think that game quite honestly took a lot out of him. Yesterday for us was a lighter day in terms of film and we let him stay back home and rest. Today, he came in and watched, but I think medical felt it was good to give him another day to try to recuperate."