Bulls' Zach LaVine enters COVID protocol, could miss multiple games

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Rob Schaefer
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LaVine enters COVID protocol, could miss multiple games originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls guard Zach LaVine has entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the team announced on its injury report Thursday.

The length of LaVine's absence is unknown, but it's expected to be multiple games and at least 10-14 days, a source told NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson. The Bulls have already listed him out for Friday's home game against the Grizzlies and are preparing for a multi-game absence.

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The Bulls had a practice scheduled for Thursday, but were forced to call it off due to protocols, according to the team's public relations department. 

Tomáš Satoranský is probable for the Grizzlies game with back spasms, but no other Bulls are listed as health and safety protocol entrants as of Thursday evening. That potentially could change with additional testing.

There's never a good time for a surprise absence such as this, especially because of potential health ramifications, but this one comes at an especially inopportune time for the Bulls. They are currently embroiled in a four-game losing streak and sit 22-32 (3-8 since the trade deadline) -- just one game ahead of the Raptors and Wizards for the last spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. The Cavaliers lurk two games back too.

LaVine is averaging 27.5 points and 5.1 assists in a career-best season that netted him his first All-Star nod in March. He'd missed just one game to this point in the season, a 121-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 31, with an ankle sprain.

The league calls for strict return-to-play guidelines to be met in the wake of a positive test, which includes passing cardiac screening. Earlier this season, Tomáš Satoranský and Chandler Hutchison, who since has been traded to the Wizards, both detailed the return-to-play procedures. Hutchison said he battled a more symptomatic case than Satoranský.

Garrett Temple also disclosed that he tested positive on the eve of his first training camp as a Bull.

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