MIAMI — It has gotten to the point where Bulls coach Billy Donovan hates even looking at his cellphone, let alone answering it.
The latest call of bad news came Saturday, just after Donovan finished a late-afternoon workout: Guard Ayo Dosunmu and forward Stanley Johnson had been put into the NBA’s COVID-19 health-and-safety protocol, becoming the sixth and seventh Bulls in it right now.
They joined guards Coby White and Matt Thomas, swingman Derrick Jones Jr. and forwards Javonte Green and DeMar DeRozan. And they’re not the only members of the traveling party in the protocol, as broadcasters Stacey King and Bill Wennington are in it, too.
Donovan said the entire coaching staff has stayed negative, which is surprising, considering how closely the staff has been around the players.
‘‘The hard part of this, to be quite honest, is we certainly want to protect all these guys,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I know there was a strong push for vaccinations, and a lot of our guys did do that. . . . We have a lot of guys sitting back home with no symptoms. Maybe that’s because they got vaccinated, I don’t know. But then you have guys that are dealing with colds and flus that actually have worst symptoms than our guys.
‘‘I think . . . you trust in the people in the league for the medical side of it. You trust in what’s best for not only the safety of your own team but the team we’re playing against. Obviously, we’ve been hit hard with this; there’s a lot of guys out. . . . We’ve got to step up and find a way to compete at the level we need to.’’
But for how long? If the Bulls don’t have any more positive tests, they might get White and Green back by midweek. DeRozan is also a possibility, depending on where his numbers are and how soon he can start the cardiovascular scanning.
The Bulls have only two games this week, so they have a chance to get healthy and get players back into a practice rhythm if the league allows team activity. They were granted a workout Friday in Miami because they had added Johnson and forward Alfonzo McKinnie as hardship cases, but Johnson’s stay was obviously a short one.
Last month, the Bulls lost center Nikola Vucevic for seven games when he tested positive for the coronavirus.
What Donovan has been pleased with through all of this is that his players have maintained a next-game mentality.
‘‘They’ve been very professional and tried to control what they can control, but I would totally understand if someone on our team was like: ‘Listen, I don’t feel comfortable with this. We’re together and practicing, and I don’t feel comfortable playing,’ ’’ Donovan said. ‘‘We haven’t had any of that.
‘‘Certainly COVID has impacted people in different ways, and people — at least inside of our team — have had loved ones that have really suffered from it. It is a scary time, and our guys have done a good job of really staying locked in and saying: ‘OK, this is what we have to do, this is what I can control,’ and then moving forward with it.’’
Guard Alex Caruso returned to the starting lineup after leaving the Bulls’ road game Dec. 4 against the Nets with a tweaked hamstring, but he was on a minutes watch with his rotations.