The Bulls’ Zach LaVine has joined eight teammates in the NBA coronavirus protocols. | Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
The organization was waiting to see if the NBA would step in Sunday and possibly postpone upcoming games, but that doesn’t seem likely. Nine players are in the league protocols.
It was a distinction that Nikola Vucevic could wear proudly.
“I’m the safest guy to be around,” the Bulls center insisted, following the Saturday loss to the Heat in Miami.
As of Sunday, he might be the only one when it comes to his franchise.
The Bulls confirmed that Zach LaVine and Troy Brown Jr. became the eighth and ninth players on the roster to be put in the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, after the team tested before getting on the flight from Miami.
The two joined Coby White, Javonte Green, DeMar DeRozan, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., Stanley Johnson and Ayo Dosunmu, as well as broadcasters Stacey King and Bill Wennington.
According to a source close to the situation, the Bulls were waiting to see if the NBA would change its current stance with postponing games, but it wasn’t leaning in that direction considering the Bulls still have nine eligible players for the Tuesday game with Detroit, and could have both White and Green back for that home game.
The NBA has been very adamant in allowing hardship roster exemptions, and if a team has the numbers the game goes on, no matter which big-named players are sidelined.
So why does Vucevic feel somewhat untouchable?
The center had the coronavirus last month, and the science has always indicated that those that were positive have immunity for a 60-to-90 day window. At least that’s what Vucevic was counting on in a time where there seems to be little to count on.
“I don’t want to say something and start a crazy conspiracy, but [the entire team] got vaccinated, most of us have been boostered,” Vucevic said. “I didn’t get boostered yet because I had it, so I’m like in the best position for 60-to-90 days or whatever it is, I’m cleared of everything.
“Your team tests when you have cases and guys pop up. For me for example, if I would have never tested I would have never known I was positive because I didn’t really have any symptoms. I had symptoms like if I had a little cold. You just have to deal with it. It just sucks that when you get it you have to be out for 10 days and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve just got to work your way back. When there’s a lot of guys like this at once it’s hard.”
The Bulls were off on Sunday, but were scheduled to practice Monday. That could be in doubt, however.