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Javonte Green rejoins Chicago Bulls on 10-day contract before loss to undermanned Boston Celtics: ‘I’ll just go out there and be myself’

Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Javonte Green is back in a Chicago Bulls uniform — at least for the next six games.

The seventh-year veteran signed a 10-day contract Saturday as the team continues to struggle with depth following the season-ending injuries of Patrick Williams and Zach LaVine.

Green, 30, is a familiar face, having logged 113 games in Chicago over the last three seasons. He was a crucial contributor over that time, but a right knee injury in 2022-23 limited him to only 32 games.

Green did not come off the bench for the Bulls in Saturday’s 124-113 loss to the Boston Celtics at the United Center. The Celtics completed a three-game sweep of the season series despite the absence of key stars Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. If the Bulls advance out of the play-in tournament, they will face the Celtics again in the first round of the playoffs.

Photos: Boston Celtics 124, Chicago Bulls 113

The real reunion between Green and the Bulls happened two weeks ago in San Francisco after a game against the Golden State Warriors.

Green spent the last two months playing with Santa Cruz, the Warriors’ G League affiliate. So it was a natural decision to attend the March 7 game when the Bulls visited the Warriors. Green waited outside the locker room for coach Billy Donovan, who wrapped him up in a hug upon seeing his former player.

Green’s entry to the locker room that night was met with enthusiastic shouts as he greeted his former teammates.

“I just felt the love,” Green said.

Barely two weeks later, Green received a call from the Bulls about coming back to Chicago on the short-term deal.

It has been more than a year since Green played in an NBA game. He underwent an arthroscopic debridement in his right knee in January 2023, then played roughly 30 minutes over four games scattered from March 20 to April 7.

After going through an entire offseason without signing with a new team, Green pursued his reentry to the NBA through the G League. He averaged 12.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 10 games.

“I already knew the steps I had to take to get back to the NBA,” Green said. “Coming back from an injury that ended the season, I know a lot of teams even the Bulls was skeptical of how well I would respond to that injury. Just going out there and showing that I’m still the same person. I still have the same confidence as before.”

Green was always a larger-than-life presence for the Bulls on the court, starting 45 games at power forward in the 2021-22 season as he made an impact through high-energy play and thunderous dunks. At his best, Green could provide a smothering defensive effect alongside Alex Caruso.

After missing most of this NBA season as he recovered from injury, it’s unclear how close Green will be to that quality of play. But his familiarity with the Bulls will offer a leg up in making a quick transition.

“To be back here is a surreal feeling, even though it hasn’t felt like a long time ago,” Green said.

Green said the right knee feels healthy and praised the Golden State medical staff for its work in his rehabilitation. His recovery mostly focused on strengthening his quad and other key muscles that provide support for the knee.

Green has only 10 days guaranteed on this contract. But he plans to make the most of them as he hopes to earn a place in the NBA again.

“Obviously the Bulls know what I bring to the table,” Green said. “I’ll just go out there and be myself.”