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Alex Caruso remains in COVID-19 protocols, and the Chicago Bulls guard is unlikely to return for Friday’s game vs. the Golden State Warriors

A marquee matchup between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference won’t include Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso.

Caruso remains in COVID-19 protocols, and it’s unclear when he will rejoin the team. Coach Billy Donovan said before Wednesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets that he doesn’t expect Caruso to be cleared and available for Friday’s game versus the Golden State Warriors.

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Donovan didn’t put a timetable on when Caruso would be ready, explaining he needs to put together several tests that will position him to get on the court.

“I do think that the numbers are moving in the right direction,” Donovan said. “They’re probably not moving as fast as any of us would like. That’s part of the deal. And then once he does get cleared with what that is, we’ll have to find out how he feels physically and what the medical staff thinks about him playing.

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“I don’t know enough about the cardio screening, where he’s at with that, but I do know that the biggest thing for him is he’s going to need to ramp up here.”

Injuries on top of the COVID-19 protocols have kept Caruso from appearing in a game since Dec. 20 — a factor in the Bulls wanting his cardio sufficiently built up before returning. He suffered a left foot sprain that sidelined him for six games before he entered the protocols last week.

He was scheduled for his first contact practice with teammates the day he became the 18th member of the Bulls to be placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocols. A right hamstring strain also cost Caruso two games in early December.

Wednesday’s game was the 13th that Caruso has missed. His return would have been a nice addition ahead of facing the Nets, who had Kyrie Irving available for only the third time this season.

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