NEW YORK — Bulls players have become familiar with daily testing for the coronavirus in the last few weeks. Coach Billy Donovan said they’ve handled the situation with “professionalism.’’
That’s good because it’s likely only going to get ramped up.
Forward Javonte Green became the third Bulls player to test positive for the virus in the last month. He was forced into isolation Friday, driving back to Chicago through the night.
Green joined guard Coby White in the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols after center Nikola Vucevic tested positive and missed seven games last month.
‘‘He basically drove through the night to go back, so I felt bad for him,’’ Donovan said of Green. ‘‘[Spoke] just through text messaging. We missed each other in phone calls, and he said he’s doing OK. Coby, the same thing. I think those guys are feeling OK. Haven’t gotten anything more from those guys.’’
What most of the traveling party has gotten is stricter testing, especially in the wake of the Hornets having multiple players testing positive in the last week. The Bulls played the Hornets on Monday.
It’s no coincidence that positive tests have increased since Thanksgiving. And with Christmas and New Year’s Day on the horizon, Donovan was asked whether he thinks the NBA will implement stricter policies soon.
‘‘I think that’s happening,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I don’t think there’s any question that’s happening. My guess is stricter policies than there have already been this year.
‘‘[The holidays], people are going to be around family. The way it’s moving right now, it’s getting a little stricter. For us right now it’s a lot stricter because we have two players that are positive.’’
The Bulls had their share of coronavirus speed bumps last season, with guard Zach LaVine’s positive test late in the season being the most damaging because of the number of important games he had to miss.
Donovan said he appreciates how his players continue to handle everything.
‘‘I think they’ve handled whatever’s come their way,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘We’re not the only team dealing with it; everybody has had to deal with it. I think there was obviously some hope and some optimism that we kind of moved past this going into this season, and that hasn’t happened. But our guys have handled it. It’s the whole thing that you’ve got to control what you can control.
‘‘Inconveniences and things can get frustrating and annoying, and you worry about: ‘Are you infected? Are you healthy?’ We’ve got a couple of guys on the team that have tested positive, so I’m sure some of those things go through those guys’ minds.’’
Answering the bell
Guard Alex Caruso started in place of Green against the Nets, despite dealing with a sore hamstring that had him listed as questionable. He eventually had to leave the game when the hamstring acted up again.
Add that to LaVine playing through a bad thumb for the last month, and that’s why forward DeMar DeRozan has such good feelings about his teammates. He said he and LaVine discussed that attitude after he signed in the summer.
‘‘A commitment that we talked about . . . was just having each other’s back and being there for one another,’’ DeRozan said. ‘‘As long as we could walk, we’re going to be out there and try to lead this team to be as successful as we can.’’