Coach Billy Donovan trying to keep Bulls frustration-free

The Bulls were decimated with 10 players in the health and safety protocols the last few weeks, and as they start to crawl out of that pit and get whole again, Donovan has been stressing to his team to remain professional.

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Coach Billy Donovan has worn a lot of hats lately.

So therapist shouldn’t be a problem.

The last few weeks, Donovan and his staff have been dealing with a decimated roster and growing frustration among players with the coronavirus surge gripping the NBA.

“We’ve talked about it a lot,’’ Donovan said Sunday. “These guys have been great in dealing with not only what we’ve had to deal with, but what everyone has had to deal with around the league. I think there was a hope and an expectation that when the season started, we would slowly be moving out of this with the fans coming back in the building, some of the vaccination rules, the masks being off. You thought you’d be getting back into more of a regular season.

“It would be very easy for our guys to get frustrated or down. But I think our guys have handled themselves really well, and I really, really appreciate their professionalism and the way they’ve conducted themselves. The thing we’ve talked about is we’ve got to be able to manage and control our frustration, anger, disappointment. That’s just not going to serve anyone well. These are the situations. We’re not making a lot of these decisions; the league is.

“We’ve got to follow protocols and try to keep each other safe. What we can really control is our attitude, our disposition, our approach each day, and how we do that is we’ve got to be productive. We need to be productive with what we’re allowed to do.’’

That’s easier said than done for the Bulls.

They had two games postponed during the week and had the practice complex shut down from all team activity except for one healthy player, one basket and one coach to work with.

That changed Saturday, when the league allowed the first practice of the week, and Donovan was able to get DeMar DeRozan, Javonte Green and Coby White some much-needed practice time.

Derrick Jones Jr. got a little work in and also did some conditioning work during the shootaround Sunday, but Donovan wasn’t close to having a whole roster, let alone having players who aren’t frustrated by the situation.

“The train is going to keep on moving,’’ Donovan said. “We just have to roll with some of these punches and deal with it.’’

’Tis the season

The last group of players hit were Zach LaVine, Alize Johnson, Troy Brown Jr. and Ayo Dosunmu. Donovan has said they all could miss games until after Christmas, and that hasn’t changed.

“You also have to feel comfortable putting them on the floor and being able to play with enough of a buildup where they feel they have some kind of base and foundation before they can come back to playing,’’ Donovan said.

Coach questions

Donovan has been amazed that 10 players and two broadcasters have been put in the health and safety protocols, but not one assistant coach on his staff has been hit.

“I asked that exact question two days ago to our medical people,’’ Donovan said. “Why? We’re around these guys, we’re together, we’re in locker rooms and we’re in planes and buses. We’re in huddles. And the response I got was, ‘Count yourself lucky.’ So I don’t think there’s anything we’re doing as much as we’ve been very fortunate.’’

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