On his first day back on the job, coach Billy Donovan already was the bearer of bad news.
Donovan, who missed the previous five games because he was in the COVID protocols, was discussing the health of his team when he was asked about Javonte Green.
The high-energy forward had missed the game against the Wizards on Saturday with a groin injury, but it seemed like more of a precautionary measure than something serious.
So when Donovan revealed that Green would be out two to four weeks, it came as a bit of a surprise.
“Javonte’s played really well for us, and he’s been great,’’ Donovan said. “It’s a tough loss. I think he’s complemented that first unit really, really well.
“We’ll have to figure it out. That’s the one thing that’s been somewhat challenging, is when these guys go in and out, and you don’t have practice time. They’ve done a really good job of handling, ‘Hey, this is going to be your role tonight’ or ‘Here’s the position you’re in tonight.’
‘‘It’s tough with him being out because he has been such a big part of our team and has played so well, but we’ll have to figure out different ways to make up for his energy because he’s been an energy player for us.’’
It’s something his teammates have really appreciated.
Since Green became a starter early in the season, his defense and his attempts to dunk on every opponent possible have been embraced by the whole squad.
He’s only averaging 5.8 points, but that’s not his primary duty.
“I just want to do everything that DeMar [DeRozan] and Zach [LaVine] and [Nikola Vucevic] don’t necessarily have to do,’’ Green recently said of his approach. “Guard the best player. Do all the little things. Just bring them energy because they’re gonna score regardless. I just want to take more pressure off them.
“I know how much my teammates and coaching staff appreciate what I do, and they tell me. Everything else is irrelevant.’’
Alex Caruso (sprained foot) is expected back this week, so he’ll supply some of that lost energy.
If the season were to end today, DeRozan would be in the mix for All-NBA first-team honors and also in the discussion for MVP.
For now, he’ll have to settle for Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the games played between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2.
All he did in those four games — all wins — was average 27.8 points, 7.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds. He also became the first player in league history to hit game-winning buzzer-beaters on back-to-back nights.
It was the second time he has been named player of the week. He also was recognized in early December.
The league announced the makeup dates for the three games the Bulls had postponed last month as well as the new-look schedule.
The Bulls will host the Pistons on Jan. 11 to make up for the Dec. 14 game that was postponed, the Jan. 26 game against the Thunder was moved to Jan. 24, the Dec. 22 game against the Raptors that was postponed will be held on Jan. 26, the Dec. 16 game that was postponed in Toronto will take place on Feb. 3 and the Jan. 24 game in Atlanta will be played on March 3.
The changes actually will benefit the Bulls because they break up a five-game trip at the end of January with the home game against Toronto.