Bulls head coach Billy Donovan enters Covid protocols


FILE – In this March 8, 2020, file photo, Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan watches during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston. The Chicago Bulls hired Donovan as coach Tuesday, Sept. 22. The 55-year-old Donovan spent the last five seasons with the Thunder. He replaces Jim Boylen, who was fired after the Bulls finished 22-43 and were one of the eight teams that didn’t qualify for the NBA’s restart at Walt Disney World. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan entered Covid-19 protocols Friday.

Bulls assistant Chris Fleming will be acting head coach in Donovan’s absence.

The Bulls had 11 players sidelined with Covid at one point but were recently back to full strength. Now Alex Caruso and Derrick Jones are the only ones out with injury.

Sports has not been able to escape the surge in coronavirus cases driven by the new omicron variant. Bowl games are being canceled, teams are being forced to pull out of college postseason matchups, NFL players have been sidelined, and the NHL started its Christmas break early and its players are not playing in the upcoming Olympics.

In the NBA, more than 100 players have gone into protocols, leaving teams in some cases forced to sign players just to have the minimum eight required to play. As injury reports lengthened throughout December, with the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls both having 10 players in protocols at times, there were questions about whether the NBA would be better off just pausing the season.

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