Bull brace for Nikola Vucevic’s absence, more COVID-19 testing – NBC Chicago – Community News

Bull brace for Nikola Vucevic’s absence, more COVID-19 testing – NBC Chicago

Bulls brace for Vucevic’s absence, more COVID-19 tests originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

SAN FRANCISCO — Zach LaVine knows what it’s like to miss games with COVID-19.

So the All-Star guard, who saw the Chicago Bulls’ play-off chances crumble last season when they went 4-7 without him at the end of last season, didn’t mince his words when asked if Nikola Vucevic tested positive for the virus. .

“It sucks, dude. Just wishing for his health, of course, first and foremost for him and his family,” LaVine said Friday morning at Chase Center after the Bulls’ morning shoot. “And then we just have to fight and work this out without him until he gets back. Big hit of course. He is one of the most important parts of our team. I just feel like that last game he got his rhythm back and everything. So it just sucks.”

The Bulls begin a five-game trip against the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors on Friday night. Coach Billy Donovan confirmed that Vucevic will at least miss the entire trip after Vucevic slipped into league health and safety protocols on Thursday.

Donovan spoke to his starting center on Thursday and exchanged text messages with him Friday morning.

“I think he’s feeling good. He feels like he has cold symptoms,” Donovan said. “They don’t seem too serious, so that’s a good thing. Hopefully he won’t be down and out too much. “

The Bulls are fully vaccinated. LaVine said players were tested daily for four days last week after the second meeting with the 76ers. Three 76ers, including two who played in at least one of the matchups, have tested positive.

Donovan said the coaches began daily testing on Thursday.

“I feel like everyone is pretty safe with us. We have worn our masks a lot. Obviously we’ve done a lot of testing in the last few days and it seems everyone has been safe. Fingers crossed,” LaVine said, when asked about his concerns about the team’s dispersal. “Of course you hope something like this doesn’t happen. Of course you can, but I think that’s the worst case scenario.”

Vucovic must remain in competition protocols for a minimum of 10 days or until he returns two negative PCR tests within 24 hours. In his absence, Donovan said Tony Bradley and Alize Johnson will be given most of the duties. But the coach isn’t against possibly trying super small setups with Derrick Jones Jr. or Javonte Green in the middle.

“While Vooch may have struggled to shoot the ball, I thought he was kind of finding his spots and rhythm at the end of the Brooklyn game and the beginning of the Dallas game,” Donovan said. “So it’s a shame he’s out. A lot of what we did was put the ball in his hands. And he created a little bit of space for us. He’s a big guy who shoots at it and teams always respect that. the floor, it will certainly be different for us.”