Monday, January 24, 2022

COVID Strikes The Bulls Yet Again


The Chicago Bulls are 14-8 and the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They are showing just how good this team can be moving forward. While it’s been great to see just how well this team can click with one another there has been one big problem, COVID. A virus that we all know too well at this stage has made its way into the Bulls locker room. For the second time this season a Bulls player has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, they will be without point guard Coby White as he enters the league’s health and safety protocols. This comes just one week after center Nikola Vucevic returned from a positive COVID test. Vucevic ended up missing 14 days and 7 games due to his positive test. The team will be hoping that White will have a shorter stint in the league’s protocols but that will be determined later down the road. Due to this positive, the Bulls are going to ramp up testing protocols within the facility.

Back to daily testing

Prior to the team’s second positive in a month they weren’t conducting daily COVID testing. However with this new positive the team doesn’t want to take any chances. Head coach Billy Donovan reported that the team is going to be increasing testing.

This is the smart move by the team to hopefully get ahead of any possible outbreak. This season and last we saw multiple instances of one player testing positive and then the virus spread like wildfire. There were multiple times last year when games were postponed due to not having enough players. The Bulls going back to daily testing should help the team keep everything under wraps and keep as many players on the court as possible. While this will be good for keeping the rest of the team healthy this positive test is going to hurt the team in a few ways.

Coby was just getting into a rhythm

Coby has only played in 9 games for the Bulls this season due to starting the year with a shoulder injury. Over those 9 games, he is only averaging 6.1 PPG, 34.9 %FG, & 1.3 APG. I won’t lie, those numbers look rough. But with Coby returning from injury, it’s been more than just looking at the numbers. He appears to be getting back into the form we saw him in last year. He’s looking more comfortable on the floor with each game. Just three games ago White scored 20 points against the Magic. Two games ago he grabbed 6 rebounds and had 2 assists. Looking at the team’s last game he had 8 points in a win over Charlotte. Coby looked to be improving and this positive COVID test puts all of that on hold.

As a Bulls fan, you hate to see this happen however the Bulls are in a better position than they would have been if other players would have tested positive.

The Bulls have done this before

There isn’t a ton of good news with this situation but one positive note is the Bulls know exactly what to do here. They started the season without White and still looked like a very good team. Billy Donovan knows what lineups to use in the absence of White and won’t have to go to the drawing board. This will likely open up the floor more for Bulls rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu. Alongside will be guard Alex Caruso. Both of these players have shown up well for the Bulls and will be expected to continue that in the absence of White. Losing White is unfortunate but if it had to be any player at least it’s someone who the Bulls have played without so far this season.

Hopefully, Coby will only find himself in the league’s health and safety protocols for the minimum amount of time. Vucevic was an extended case and this team certainly would like to have White back sooner rather than later. Until then the Bulls will do what they have done all season and play with the cards they have been dealt. Win at all costs and focus on each game one at a time. The Bulls know how to play without Coby and simply need to execute. There are no excuses with this Bulls team this year and COVID isn’t something that will derail them.

Conner Grant
Lifelong Chicago sports fan raised in Las Vegas. Purdue University graduate. An engineer by trade, Bulls superfan by choice.

Chicago SportsNEWS
Recommended for you