Why did the Bulls have games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols?

The Chicago Bulls depth chart is thinning out quickly, as 10 players total have entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the past couple of weeks.

Across Sunday and Monday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Zach Lavine, Troy Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson have joined their seven other teammates in the health and safety protocols, bringing the Bulls to just eight players on the active roster.

The league’s rulebook states that a team must have at least eight players available to prevent games from being postponed, but because of the recent outbreak, the NBA has decided to postpone the Bulls’ next two games.

For more on Chicago’s health and safety protocols situation and their upcoming schedule, we have you covered below.

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Why did the Bulls have games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols?

The NBA announced on Monday, Dec. 13 that the Bulls have had their next two games postponed – Tuesday, Dec. 14 against the Detroit Pistons and Thursday, Dec. 16 against the Toronto Raptors – due to the team’s health and safety protocols outbreak.

Even though the Bulls meet the league minimum of eight players on their active roster, there are 10 players, along with other members of their staff, that are in the league’s health and safety protocols.

Chicago attempted to avoid any postponements with signings under the NBA’s new hardship exemption, which gives teams temporary roster spots that allow them to exceed the 15-man roster limit in times of need (multiple players being out because of injury or illness), but it has already had tough luck with that situation, too.

MORE: What is the NBA’s hardship exemption? Rule helps teams dealing with COVID-19, injuries

On Dec. 9, the Bulls signed Stanley Johnson under a hardship exemption deal, but just two days later, on Dec. 11, the forward also entered the league’s health and safety protocols.

Take a look at all of the Bulls players in protocols, along with the date they entered. (Note: the league’s rules state a player must miss a minimum of 10 days or produce two negative tests in a 24-hour period to return to play).

Bulls players in COVID-19 protocols
Player Date entered
Troy Brown Jr. Dec. 12
DeMar DeRozan Dec. 6
Ayo Dosunmu Dec. 11
Javonte Green Dec. 3
Alize Johnson Dec. 13
Stanley Johnson Dec. 11
Derrick Jones Jr. Dec. 9
Zach LaVine Dec. 12
Matt Thomas Dec. 8
Coby White* Dec. 1

*White has been in health and safety protocols since Dec. 1, but on Sunday, Wojnarowski reported he has returned to practice. He has yet to be cleared to play.

So who is still active for Chicago, you ask?

  • Guards: Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Devon Dotson (two-way contract)
  • Forwards: Alfonzo McKinnie (hardship), Tyler Cook (two-way contract)
  • Centers: Nikola Vucevic, Tony Bradley, Marko Simonovic

Following the two postponements, the Bulls have one more game on the schedule for this week and three games next week. You can find their upcoming schedule below, but check back for updates on other possible postponements.

Bulls schedule 2021-22

Date Opponent Time (ET)
Tue, Dec. 14 vs. Pistons POSTPONED
Thurs, Dec. 16 at Raptors POSTPONED
Sun, Dec. 19 vs. Lakers 3:30 PM
Mon, Dec. 20 vs. Rockets 8:00 PM
Wed, Dec. 22 vs. Raptors 8:00 PM
Sun, Dec. 26 vs. Pacers 8:00 PM

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