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Nikola Vucevic placed in health and safety protocols, out Friday vs. Warriors [UPDATE]

Bulls center has landed in Covid-19 protocols and is expected to miss a couple games.

Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Chicago Bulls gets introduced prior to a game against the Brooklyn Nets on November 8, 2021 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Update, Nov. 12 — The Bulls will be without Vuce for Friday’s game vs. the Warriors. Coach Billy Donovan told reporters in the early evening that Tony Bradley and Alize Johnson would fill the void at center. Donovan also mentioned some extreme small ball could be in order with Javonte Green at center and “Airplane Mode” Derrick Jones Jr. at power forward. This wouldn’t be a bad idea considering the Dubs like to play small and could be without their best defensive player in Draymond Green (thigh).

Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic was placed into the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Vucevic is expected to miss a few games for the Bulls. KC Johnson of NBC Chicago is reporting Vuce will be sidelined the 10 days and is listed as out.

This is a tough break for the Bulls, who are already thin in the front court with Patrick Williams expected to miss the entire regular season. Chicago is coming off a 117-107 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. Vucevic played 32 minutes in the win, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds and 4 assists. It was the Bulls second straight win to improve to 8-3, tied for first in the Eastern Conference.

Fantasy basketball impact

This may force coach Billy Donovan to play Tony Bradley, who is the only other true center on the roster. We also could see more small ball with Alize Johnson starting at the 5 and Javonte Green at the 4, where he’s been playing in place of Williams. Bradley may be worth an add if he does end up starting. He’s a decent rebounder per 36 minutes, though doesn’t offer much offensive upside. Johnson has a bit more appeal but both options aren’t great short-term replacements for Vuce anyway. You’ll likely need to scour the waiver wire for some center options.