Bulls big man Andre Drummond announces he’s focusing on his mental health

Drummond was away from the team on Wednesday after announcing a day earlier that he was deleting all of his social-media apps and changing his number so that he can “focus on my mental health.”

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Andre Drummond

Bulls big man Andre Drummond announced on Tuesday that he would be deleting all his social media apps and changing his number, and then stepped away from the team to deal with some mental health issues.

Ron Schwane/AP

Coach Billy Donovan was just hoping to have Andre Drummond on the team flight Thursday, when the Bulls head to Charlotte.

Whether Drummond plays didn’t matter a bit to Donovan, who just wants to make sure that his backup center is getting the help he needs and finding his way.

On Tuesday, Drummond went to his Twitter account and announced that he would be deleting all his social apps and changing his number because it was “time to focus on my mental health.’’

He then wrote, “If you too are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone . . . it’s okay to ask for help.’’

Before the game Wednesday against the Lakers, the Bulls announced that Drummond would be out for “personal reasons.’’

“Your heart goes out for anybody [dealing with that],’’ Donovan said. “I think a lot of times as we come here and play games, there’s also a human side, a personal side to all these guys. You feel bad whenever anybody is going through something like that. You try to give as much support as you can.

“We have the resources inside the organization to help. For him, the feeling is there’s hope and optimism that he would travel with us [to Charlotte]. That’s the hope. I texted with him a little bit just to let him know I’m here, we’re all here to try to help him. He’s trying to work through it right now. It’s personal reasons, and I haven’t pressed any of those things.’’

Drummond isn’t the only Bull to step out on that mental-health platform and go public.

Forward DeMar DeRozan talked about what he was going through in 2018, saying in an interview, “Not feeling like you’re behind the curtain, it gives you a sense of freedom because so many people don’t know how to let that out.’’

Donovan found out firsthand how powerful DeRozan’s honesty was earlier this season. While working out in the fitness center in Toronto, a man approached him about meeting DeRozan and expressed how much his honesty had helped him.

Sure enough, DeRozan met with the man later in the day in the lobby.

“These guys have platforms, and sometimes people look at these guys and they see them play and they see these NBA players, stars, all this other stuff,’’ Donovan said. “All the stuff that comes with it where, ‘Gosh, their lives must be absolutely perfect.’ And they’re not. We’re all flawed. We all have issues and challenges that we have to deal with. Sometimes there’s a level of inspiration and hope that he can give somebody.’’

As far as the basketball side of Drummond’s absence, the Bulls lose some serious size off the bench.

They also lose a big who had been playing really well lately.

Drummond was a factor in the four previous games, including the victory against the Lakers in Los Angeles, where he filled in for Nikola Vucevic after his ejection and had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Derrick Jones Jr. has been the backup center when the Bulls go with their small lineup, but the second unit loses some physicality with Drummond’s absence.

“Whatever Andre can do to help himself and help others, that’s always a positive,’’ Donovan said.

Caru-Show

Guard Alex Caruso (sprained foot) was back in the lineup after missing the game against the Clippers.

Donovan said Caruso hasn’t been practicing much with the team and that the light workload would be the course for the rest of the season.

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