The ghosts of COVID present seem intent on haunting this NBA holiday season, hitting the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Toronto Raptors Thursday.
Derrick Jones Jr. joined Coby White, Javonte Green, DeMar DeRozan, and Matt Thomas, the fifth Bull in nine days, in NBA health and safety protocols, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Still, only White and Green have tested positive for COVID.
DeRozan and Thomas are out for at least ten days or until they have two negative COVID tests within a 24-hour period.
In light of their depleted roster, the Bulls used their hardship roster exception to sign Stanley Johnson to a 10-day contract.
Johnson will join the team in Miami to play the Heat Saturday.
Central Division rivals, the Indiana Pacers, were also hit, as head coach Rick Carlise entered league health and safety protocols Thursday, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Carlise and his coaching staff are all vaccinated, but some team players are not.
Indiana canceled practice Thursday morning, and assistant Lloyd Pierce will take over for Carlisle on Friday when the Pacers play Dallas.
Pacers starting guard Justin Holiday entered health and safety protocols on November 30 after testing positive for COVID, though he remains asymptomatic per the Indianapolis Star.
The Toronto Raptors also canceled practice “out of an abundance of caution,” said the team, due to health and safety protocols and that further updates would be provided when necessary.
All Raptors and staff are vaccinated.
The Charlotte Hornets slipped into the ninth spot in the East, losing their last two games, as they do without LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee, and Jalen McDaniels, who entered healthy and safety protocols.
NBA COVID-19 health and safety protocols require players to refrain from all basketball activities for at least ten days or two negative COVID-19 tests in a 24-hour period.