The Chicago Bulls will be missing two important pieces from their lineup for Game 5 on Wednesday night: Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso.
The Bulls announced on Wednesday that both LaVine and Caruso have been ruled out for Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
LaVine entered the health and safety protocols on Tuesday after reportedly waking up and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Bulls coach Billy Donovan then said on Wednesday afternoon that LaVine is "pretty sick."
Caruso entered the concussion protocol during the second half of Game 4 on Sunday, leaving the game with a bloody nose and experiencing symptoms shortly after. With neither player improving by Wednesday morning, the Bulls had no choice but to designate them both as out.
Being short staffed is definitely not how the Bulls wanted to enter Wednesday night's elimination game, and missing those two players specifically is very tough. LaVine has been the Bulls' second-best scorer in the playoffs, averaging 19.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and six assists in the first four games of this series. Caruso has been the Bulls' defensive anchor and has been up to the task of defending against the Bucks, who can seemingly score at will. The Bulls are also missing Lonzo Ball, who has been out since Jan. 14 with a torn meniscus.
While this situation is less than ideal, the Bulls aren't wallowing. Center Nikola Vucevic said after Tuesday's practice that "at no point did we feel sorry for ourselves."
"It's part of sports," Vucevic said via ESPN. "If you look out throughout the NBA, I'm sure a lot of teams have gone through a lot of different ups and downs and injuries and COVID stuff. So you just have to deal with it."
Game 5 between the Bulls and Bucks is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday night.