Chicago Bulls: Donovan says COVID-19 game delays are ‘inevitable’

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bulls first-year head coach Billy Donovan seemingly has confidence in the fact that COVID-19-induced delays will play a big role in the NBA season.

It didn’t even take a full 48 hours into the NBA’s regular season schedule for there to be a game delay due to novel coronavirus-related issues. While that game postponement didn’t have anything to do with the Chicago Bulls, it is a notable event that will likely impact them at some point moving forward.

The game that was postponed, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 23, was the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets. The Rockets didn’t have enough available players due to COVID-19 issues to face the Thunder in each team’s regular season opener.

Moreover, the Bulls did already deal with one positive COVID-19 case since the start of the preseason and Training Camp. The Bulls missed their newly signed former Brooklyn Nets 34-year-old veteran shooting guard Garrett Temple throughout most of Training Camp and the preseason since he was in mandatory quarantine induced by his positive COVID-19 test.

And according to a report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times on Dec. 24, the Bulls first-year head coach Billy Donovan feels that more COVID-19 postponements could impact the NBA’s regular season schedule in a big way. Here’s more on what Donovan had to say on this matter regarding COVID-19-induced delays and their impact on this season.

"“It’s every day for us, and I know you wake up and you’re waiting for test results, and we’re testing all the time and talking to our guys about the safety of everyone, but a lot of this stuff is possibly inevitable,’’ Donovan said Wednesday in a Zoom call. “From our standpoint, you have to deal with what it is you’re dealing with, with people being out, but this is something that’s going to be going on for quite some time. And it makes it very, very challenging.”"

Donovan and the Bulls did manage to get through their four-game preseason slate, which tipped off back on Dec. 11 at home against the Rockets, without any COVID-19-induced delays or cancellations. They also got to tip off their regular season schedule on Dec. 23, which resulted in a convincing 124-104 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks.

The start to the tenure for Donovan with the Bulls didn’t go as planned so far, but this will be a very patient process for this team in the fourth year of their rebuild.

It also looks like the Bulls should be good to go, at least at this moment, when they take on their first divisional foe of the regular season, against the Indiana Pacers at home at the United Center on Dec. 26. They’ll carry a record of 0-1 into that divisional showdown this weekend.

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The Christmas Day slate around the NBA doesn’t look to have any COVID-19 related issues that will result in delays for any games, as it appears now. The first game of the Christmas Day slate around the NBA will see the New Orleans Pelicans tipping off against the Miami Heat in South Beach at 11 a.m. CT.