The Chicago Bulls are down two more players as Zach Lavine and Troy Brown Jr. have been placed into the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and NBC Chicago’s K.C. Johnson first reported the news.
With Lavine and Brown Jr. now out, the Bulls are down nine total players due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Their next game is on Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons.
As of Sunday, the Bulls do have nine eligible and active players thanks to replacement signings, leaving them one player above the league minimum of eight players in order to play an NBA game.
DeMar DeRozan, Coby White, Matt Thomas, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu, and Stanley Johnson are all also under COVID-19 protocols.
Johnson joined the team on a 10-day contract last week as a hardship signing amid the outbreak.
Alfonso McKinnie also signed with the Bulls with a hardship exception.
Bulls center Nikola Vucevic missed seven games in COVID-19 protocols before returning on Nov. 24.
“We need a hardship for a hardship right now,” head coach Billy Donovan told reporters ahead of Saturday’s 118-92 loss to the Miami Heat.
According to the Chicago Bulls franchise, all players on their roster have said they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
They can continue to sign players with hardship exceptions if needed.
According to league protocols, players who land in protocol are required to isolate for at least 10 days or produce two negative PCR tests in a 24-hour time span.
Donovan said on Saturday that “a lot” of players in protocols aren’t symptomatic.
“Maybe some of it’s because of the vaccination, we’ve got a lot of guys sitting at home with no symptoms right now,” Donovan told reporters. “That’s obviously a good thing, too, because I think when guys have gone through a real difficulty of getting really, really sick, it’s really made it a lot harder for them coming back.
“We do have some guys that have felt under the weather. We have guys that have very, very mild symptoms, and some guys that just don’t have any.”
On top of Zach Lavine, the Bulls also lost Alex Caruso to a hamstring injury before he returned to the lineup on Saturday against the Heat.
Patrick Williams is also sidelined with a long-term wrist injury.
The Bulls entered Sunday in third place in the Eastern Conference at 17-10.