Bulls players trust each other to follow coronavirus protocols
After two preseason home games, the Bulls have to take their show on the road. Considering all the coronavirus spikes nationwide, the franchise is on high alert, making sure every member of the traveling party knows what’s at stake.
There has been a trust building among the Bulls since training camp started. And it has little to do with basketball.
With the coronavirus seemingly getting worse daily, there are strict, mandated NBA protocols every member of all 30 organizations are required to follow. But there is also a trust players have to have in one another.
The Bulls have that, veteran guard Tomas Satoransky said.
‘‘I don’t think it’s going to be a huge problem for our group,’’ Satoransky said when he was asked about his teammates being smart in their off-the-court decision-making. ‘‘We were away from the game for so much that we don’t even think about doing something [other] than acting professionally and kind of helping all of our team to stick together.’’
Veteran guard Garrett Temple is the only member of the franchise reportedly in the coronavirus protocol, and he showed up to camp positive after a family gathering on Thanksgiving.
But the show goes on the road this week. The Bulls are scheduled to head to Oklahoma City late Tuesday afternoon for preseason games against the Thunder on Wednesday and Friday. That means staying in hotels, where there is more possibility of traffic. It also means players being tempted to get caught up in road activities.
‘‘Everybody is supposed to be a professional and realize that his behavior will affect his teammates, so that’s the most important thing,’’ Satoransky said. ‘‘Everybody has to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are acting responsibly to not put in danger his teammates, his staff, and I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.
‘‘We obviously talk about it. There’s going to be a lot of restrictions and difficult things compared to other seasons, but it’s so important for us to play basketball and competing and building a winning group that I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.’’
That doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns. Veteran forward Thad Young said last week that frequent road trips are a bit nerve-racking, and coach Billy Donovan reiterated that.
‘‘We had a head coaches’ call [last] week,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘[NBA commissioner] Adam [Silver] got on and really tried to make the point that the most important thing was the safety of these players and that you’re always dealing with some level of risk there.
‘‘I mean, it’s a scary time when you see the way the cases are going up, see the number of deaths. I think you have to be concerned. I think it’s only normal. And I think for a lot of these guys, as professionals and having families, they’ll have to evaluate and assess those kinds of risks.’’
Forward Noah Vonleh was added to the injury report and is in the ‘‘NBA protocol,’’ said Donovan, who anticipated further details in the next couple of days.
Temple, meanwhile, remained in the NBA’s coronavirus protocol, but Donovan said he was working out at the Advocate Center as part of the required cardiovascular tests all players who test positive must go through.
And swingman Denzel Valentine continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last month. The good news for Valentine is he might be back this week, considering he is shooting and going through walkthroughs.