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Bulls guard Coby White searching for rhythm, minutes

White played in his second game Wednesday, but he’s still trying to get back to where he was before shoulder surgery put him on the shelf for five months.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Coby White isn’t about competing with rookie Ayo Dosunmu.

From a minutes standpoint, that’s the player who is his most likely obstacle as far as playing time. But White was looking at it a different way on Wednesday.

In his eyes, he’s his own competition. If his shot is falling, his defense is more physical, and he’s playing well with the second unit, the minutes issue will take care of itself.

That’s a lot of ifs.

White made his debut Monday in Los Angeles after almost five months on the shelf with left shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, and to say he eased into it would be an understatement.

The combo guard played just under 11 minutes, went 0-for-2 from the field, had one rebound and was a team-worst minus-15 in plus/minus.

What mattered to him was he came out feeling good, and his play can only improve.

“I was definitely just trying to find a rhythm,’’ White said. “I hadn’t ever played with any of those guys that were on the floor, or most of them, so it was just trying to get adjusted. A lot of adjustment. But it will be a feeling out process, and I’m just glad to be back on the court.

“What’s been nice is all the guys have accepted me, they’ve brought me in. It could be really different. A new team having a great year, a new guy coming into the mix, but they don’t really care about any of that. They just want to see me on the floor again.’’

They also want to see him be the scoring threat he was last season, especially in catch-and-shoot from three. The bench needs that punch, and sooner rather than later.

White put up 454 threes last season, hitting 35.9%, and while the Bulls have been better with the three-ball on this road trip, teams never have enough outside shooting.

As far as Dosunmu and White coexisting, coach Billy Donovan still found almost 21 minutes of playing time for the Illinois standout, and can continue using both as long as Nikola Vucevic is sidelined and Tony Bradley is in the starting lineup.

Once Vucevic gets back, Donovan did say he would go with a 10-man rotation and let the situation play out.

Dosunmu and White have very different skill sets, so handling it like that works.

Vucevic update

According to Donovan, Vucevic hasn’t had a negative test in the health and safety protocol, and that means he’s not even to the stage where the cardio screening would come into play.

The big man has missed the entire road trip with the coronavirus, and there’s still uncertainty on when exactly he will be able to return.

“He’s got to produce two negative tests after a period of time, however long that is,’’ Donovan said. “Then he can go into cardio screening where he can start to do things under being monitored.’’

What Donovan wasn’t concerned about was Vucevic being easily acclimated back into the starting group when he does return.

“What I do anticipate being a challenge is him finding his rhythm after being out and missing as many games, and then what kind of toll did the virus take on him?’’ Donovan said. “Those are the things I’m worried about. But in terms of him as a player with the skill set going back in, I’m not worried about that.’’