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Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic enters COVID-19 health and safety protocols, expected to miss at least 10 days

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Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has been placed in the NBA‘s health and safety protocols, as first reported by NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson on Thursday. Vucevic is expected to miss at least 10 days. The Bulls have officially listed him as out for Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors

NBC Sports Chicago reported recently that every player on the Bulls’ roster is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. When a player tests positive for COVID-19, he cannot return until 10 days have passed or he tests negative on two PCR tests 24 hours apart. 

After visiting the Warriors, Chicago’s road trip will continue with games against the Clippers, Lakers, Trail Blazers and Nuggets. They will return home to play a back-to-back against the New York Knicks on Nov. 21 and the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 22.

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Vucevic has never been less efficient as a shooter than he has to start this season, but he has played well otherwise in 11 games. The Bulls’ starting lineup of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Javonte Green and Vucevic has a plus-9.8 net rating, per Cleaning The Glass, and it had a net rating of plus-11.0 with the injured Patrick Williams in place of Green. Chicago’s success on the defensive end has been particularly notable, and Vucevic has fared well in drop coverage. 

Already without Williams, the 8-3 Bulls will have their depth tested in the immediate future. Tony Bradley has been backing up Vucevic at the 5 spot, and, since they are short on traditional bigs, coach Billy Donovan might have to turn to Derrick Jones Jr. as a smallball center. Alize Johnson is another option, and, if Chicago is desperate for size, it could recall rookie Marko Simonovic from the G League. 

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