Even if you’ve already written off the Bulls – who trail the better Bucks 3-1 entering Game 5 tomorrow in Milwaukee – the wider worry of coronavirus disrupting the NBA playoffs intensifies.
For the second time this postseason, a star will miss a potential elimination game due to coronavirus issues.
This time it’s Chicago guard Zach LaVine.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Zach LaVine is expected to miss Wednesday's Game 5 vs. Bucks in COVID-19 protocols, sources said. https://t.co/WDxP09qxCF
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 26, 2022
If Chicago loses, what a bitter way for LaVine to enter unrestricted free agency – disconnected from his team, failing to win a playoff series. This is definitely not how LaVine wants to end his long-awaited first postseason.
Though LaVine has been merely alright against Milwaukee, the Bulls are already missing their other starting guard, Lonzo Ball. Chicago can ask only so much of Alex Caruso, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic will feel even more creation burden from the frontcourt.
This is LaVine’s fourth known coronavirus issue. He missed a couple weeks last April/May, was delayed in joining Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics and missed another couple weeks in December. As of November, the Bulls were fully vaccinated, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
The NBA’s most widespread coronavirus problems might be in the rearview mirror. But with the stakes so high this time of year, a single case can be so disruptive.