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Bulls' Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso both out for Game 5

Posted on April 28, 2022

Zach LaVine will miss the game because he is in Health and Safety Protocols, while Alex Caruso is out because of concussion protocols.

Chicago Bulls guards Alex Caruso and Zach LaVine have both been ruled out for Wednesday’s Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks (7:30 ET, TNT).

Caruso remains in concussion protocol after suffering his injury in Game 4 when he took an inadvertent hit to the face from the Bucks’ Jevon Carter while trying to get around a pick by Giannis Antetokounmpo. He exited with a bloody nose.

LaVine, an All-Star, entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday. Coach Billy Donovan said LaVine wasn’t feeling great. Donovan was informed as the team was getting ready to practice that his player was entering protocols.

The absence of LaVine and Caruso means Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu will likely see a significant uptick in minutes for Game 5. The other guards on Chicago’s roster, Lonzo Ball and the seldom-used Matt Thomas, are both out for Game 5 due to injury.

The Bucks lead the series, 3-1, and if they wrap it up on Wednesday, would face the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semfinals. Milwaukee won the past two games in Chicago by a combined 54 points.

Arguably Chicago’s best defender, Caruso was limited to 41 games in the regular season after spending his first four years with the Los Angeles Lakers. He missed seven weeks with a broken wrist following a hard foul by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen during a game in Milwaukee in January.

LaVine has been in and out of the lineup for Chicago the past few months because of a sore left knee. Now, he’s in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols for the third time in a year: He tested positive for the coronavirus last April and again in December. The Bulls were 9-6 in games LaVine missed.

Per Joe Cowely of the Chicago Sun-Times, LaVine is reportedly planning to have surgery on his left knee in the offseason. The Bulls guard has, per Cowley, been downplaying the severity of his injury throughout the season.

LaVine averaged 24.4 points during the regular season and made his second straight All-Star team. The eight-year veteran is averaging 19.3 points in his first playoff series.

“It’s frustrating,” said DeMar DeRozan, who talked to LaVine on Tuesday morning. “I can’t even imagine how he feels. But the most important part now is making sure he comes out of that thing feeling healthy.”

The Bulls finished sixth in the Eastern Conference at 46-36 after spending part of the season at the top. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and ended a run of four straight losing seasons.

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