The Chicago Bulls huddle before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 8, 2021 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. (AFP)

Two upcoming Chicago Bulls fixtures became the first games of the NBA season to be postponed due to COVID-19 on Monday as the franchise battles a coronavirus outbreak.

The NBA said in a statement Chicago’s game against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday and Thursday’s clash with the Toronto Raptors, had both been called off due to COVID-19.

The league said 10 Bulls players were currently unavailable after entering COVID-19 health and safety protocols, while “additional staff members” were also unavailable.

With a minimum of eight players required for a game, the crisis has left the Bulls in danger of not being able to field a team for the two games.

ESPN reported forward Alize Johnson had become the latest player to test positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Coby White, Troy Brown Jr., Matt Thomas, Javonte Green, Ayo Dosunmu and Derrick Jones Jr. and Stanley Johnson have already entered the health and safety protocols.

The NBA postponed 31 games due to COVID-19 last season, but Monday’s annoucement marks the first time games have been called off in the 2021-2022 campaign.

The Bulls, who are among several NBA teams to have a fully vaccinated roster, are third in the Eastern Conference standings with a 17-10 record this year.

Source: Manila Bulletin (