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CHICAGO – He was a big reason there was a bit of optimism early in the series about the Bulls’ chances against the defending NBA champions.

But now as the team faces elimination after a difficult weekend at home, the availability of Alex Caruso is very much in doubt.

On Monday, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed that the guard is in concussion protocol after taking a hit to the head late in the first half of Sunday’s Game 4 loss to the Bucks. He was hit by an unintentional elbow from Milwaukee guard Javon Carter, drawing blood and forcing him from the rest of the contest.

Caruso’s status for Game 5 in Milwaukee on Wedensday is up in the air as he’s been given the “day-to-day” diagnosis from the team.

“He’s a tough guy, and it was right in front of us, and you could kinda hear him…the pain that he was dealing with at that point in time,” said Donovan of Caruso’s injury. “So he did have a bloody nose, he went back, and I think based on his symptoms, they said ‘Listen, he cannot come back into the game.’

“So now we’re in this position where he’s in concussion protocols and now it’s about how soon does he start to not have symptoms anymore before he can get back to play and his availability in Game 5 right now is probably up in the air.”

In his first season with the Bulls, Caruso was crucial to the team’s improved play in Game 1 and Game 2 against the Bucks, as he registered 12 assists, four steals, and five rebounds while causing problems for Milwaukee’s offense. Those efforts helped the Bulls to a win in the second game but the performances all around were not as solid when the series shifted to Chicago.

Caruso had just two rebounds and one assist without a steal in a 30-point Game 3 loss where the Bulls were never in contention. In 17 minutes before his injury in Game 3, he was playing better along with the team in the early going, with four rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.

Like Friday, however, Milwaukee would pull in the second half to a 119-95 victory.