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The Chicago Bulls are facing elimination on Wednesday, and they may have to do it without one of their biggest stars.
The Bulls announced on Tuesday that Zach LaVine has entered health and safety protocols.
Zach LaVine has entered health and safety protocols, per Bulls PR
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) April 26, 2022
It's not known why LaVine has entered the protocols, but that's typically the designation that comes from a positive COVID-19 test.
While the Bulls didn't announce whether LaVine would miss Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that LaVine is expected to miss it due to his entering the protocols.
Zach LaVine is expected to miss Wednesday's Game 5 vs. Bucks in COVID-19 protocols, sources said. https://t.co/WDxP09qxCF
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 26, 2022
This is far from ideal for the Bulls. They're down 3-1 to the punishing Bucks, who have manhandled and neutralized LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Despite that, they need LaVine in the lineup since they've gotten such little help from their bench. LaVine even admitted after Sunday's 119-95 loss that the Bulls need a full complement productive players to make a dent in the Bucks' series lead.
“One guy isn’t going to beat them,” LaVine said via the Chicago Tribune. “They were crowding the paint, and once I break that first line of defense, they were sending guys into the lane and not letting me and DeMar try to beat them.”
The Bulls will play Game 5 — possibly without LaVine — on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.