He's back. DeMar DeRozan is officially exiting the NBA's health and safety protocols and returning to the Chicago Bulls.
DeRozan entered the league's health and safety protocols on December 6 and missed the Bulls past three games. The Bulls struggled without one of their best players, going 1-2 during that stretch and losing by 20-plus points in each of the past two games.
The Bulls planned on missing DeRozan for even more games, but a COVID-19 outbreak within the team's locker room forced the NBA to postpone both Bulls games this past week.
DeMar DeRozan's absence left a massive gap in the lineup. The Bulls lost while scoring fewer than 100 points in two of the three games he missed. That occurred just three times in the 24 games the Bulls have played with DeRozan.
DeRozan has proven to be one of the best offseason moves made by any team, averaging 26.4 PPG, the highest mark of his career since 2016-17. He has been particularly effective in the fourth quarter of games, as he entered December with the most points scored in the final 12 minutes of play.
Furthermore, the four-time All-Star is posting a 52% effective field-goal percentage, which would be good enough for the second-highest mark of his career.
It is still unclear when exactly DeRozan will make his return. The Bulls next play on Sunday night at the United Center against the Los Angeles Lakers.