Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball became the team’s third player to enter the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Sunday, joining forward Alfonzo McKinnie and center Tony Bradley as players sidelined ahead of the Bulls’ matchup against the Indiana Pacers.
Chicago will also be without coach Billy Donovan, who landed in the protocols on Friday.
The Bulls have had 14 players enter health and safety protocols in December, although Devon Dotson tested out two days later with a pair of negative COVID-19 tests. Nikola Vucevic also landed in the protocols in early November.
Sunday was the first day of the NBA’s ramped-up testing during the holiday season, a two-week period during which players and staff will be tested on game days unless they have recently contracted the virus or have received a booster shot within 14 days. Players who enter health and safety protocols must produce two negative PCR tests within 24 hours or spend 10 days in isolation.
Ball had been the only Bulls player to appear in all 29 games this season, his first in Chicago. He is averaging 13.2 points, 5.0 assists and 5.4 rebounds.
“I don’t really do too much; I just play and go back home, really,” Ball said about avoiding the health and safety protocols after Monday’s game against the Houston Rockets. “I’m just thankful that I haven’t got it yet.”
After news broke Sunday afternoon, Ball tweeted: “Y’all jinxed me.”
Chicago endured a team outbreak at the start of the month that led to the NBA’s first two postponed games of the season. However, earlier this week the Bulls had cleared all 10 players from the league’s protocols.
McKinnie had initially joined the team on a pair of 10-day contracts, but earlier Sunday morning, the Bulls announced they had released forward Alize Johnson and signed McKinnie, who had 16 points and five rebounds in their last game, against the Rockets, to the main roster.