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Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan says his time in protocols was frustrating

The veteran forward said he was asymptomatic and did everything he could to stay mentally sharp during his time off. Now he’s hoping to find his rhythm as the Bulls try to get back to normal after being down 10 players last week.

Forward DeMar DeRozan said he spent his time in the NBA’s health and safety protocols symptom-free.

Well, not completely.

“The only symptom I had was boredom, honestly,’’ DeRozan said Saturday.

Well, the action is about to pick up for DeRozan after he declared himself ready to return Sunday against the Lakers. He thinks he can pick up right where he left off before he was sidelined after the Bulls’ road victory Dec. 4 against the Nets.

“You try to do as much as you can, stay as active as you can mentally,’’ DeRozan said. “For me, just try to take it day by day. I didn’t try to look at the whole thing. Physically, conditioning-wise, I feel like I’ll be fine. The last couple of days, I was just pushing myself as much as I can in the gym. Come back to the gym at night, morning time, just getting my rhythm, getting my wind up. [Saturday] was a good day of practice, so I’m confident that I’ll be fine.’’

DeRozan was hoping his teammates will be fine, as well. The Bulls had 10 players go into the protocols.

On Saturday, the Bulls were able to get a practice in for the first time in a week, and they’ll have DeRozan, Coby White and Javonte Green back to face the Lakers.

Derrick Jones Jr. was questionable but out of the protocols, while Matt Thomas was doubtful.

Zach LaVine, Alize Johnson, Ayo Dosunmu and Troy Brown Jr. likely will be back after Christmas, coach Billy Donovan said.

Stanley Johnson was the 10th player, but he was a hardship exemption.

“It’s definitely exhausting just for the simple fact of missing games, watching my team go out there,’’ DeRozan said. “It’s just mentally exhausting seeing everything that’s going on around the league, just being affected by it. It can be frustrating; it can be confusing; it can be a lot of things at once. It’s just something we’ve got to continue to deal with, try to maneuver around it and make the most of it when we can.

“Most of the guys in our league try to follow the necessary precautions that we needed to take by getting vaccinated so we can be out there, take care of our health and just to be out there and play. That was a big thing for us, just to be out on that floor. For guys to be vaccinated, dealing with this, getting hit hard, it’s just frustrating.’’

White agreed with some of DeRozan’s takes, but he was in a different boat. He had mild symptoms — a low fever, headaches and congestion — and was somewhat confused by the process.

After being sidelined all summer and for fall camp because of shoulder surgery, White finally returned to the court Nov. 15 against the Lakers in Los Angeles. He played nine games only to be sidelined again, this time with the coronavirus.

“Obviously, you want to be out there competing,’’ White said. “It sucks coming back from an injury, then you find out you’ve got COVID, and now you gotta sit out.

“But it ain’t nothing I never seen before. So I’m cool. It is what it is for me. I just use that time to grow as a person. I’m a big spiritual guy, so I just use that time to kind of grow my faith.’’

NOTE: The Lakers will be without Anthony Davis for possibly the next month after the team announced he had a sprained left medial collateral ligament. The Chicago native will miss yet another homecoming at the United Center.