Forget the singular loss, the Bulls could have a much bigger problem on their hands.
During the third quarter of Monday night’s 118-110 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Wendell Carter Jr. fell to the court. The Bulls second-year rising star immediately grabbed his ankle after landing awkwardly on Dwight Powell’s foot. He was down for a good amount of time in noticeable pain before trainers and teammates were able to get him up to his feet. He walked his way over to the sideline before he was wheel-chaired into the locker room.
A little while later, the Bulls Twitter account tweeted out an important update:
UPDATE: Wendell Carter Jr. sustained a right ankle sprain. X-rays were negative. He will not return tonight. pic.twitter.com/Sxay3rOknf
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 7, 2020
The good news: Carter Jr.’s x-rays came back negative.
The bad news: That doesn’t mean he’s in the clear at all.
We’ll likely get a better update tomorrow on how severe the injury could be, but based purely on his reaction, the expectation should be that he’s going to miss some time. I’m not going to make any assumptions on a timetable though because, after all, we did see Markkanen leave the Celtics game with an ankle injury (though Carter Jr.’s looked much worse) and then drop 26 points in tonight’s game.
For now, this will be an annoying wait, especially with this as the latest update:
Wendell Carter Jr. is using crutches in postgame locker room.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 7, 2020
In other news, the Bulls played another competitive, exciting game. Instead of putting this all in my own words, I think our friend Mark on Twitter summed this one up pretty well.
The Bulls have lost their last four games.
It's also been some of the best basketball they've played all season, against real competition.
It's tough but the way they've played in these Ls is better than most of their Ws.
— Mark (@mkhoops) January 7, 2020
Yup, this is the longest losing streak of the Bulls season, but also some of the most encouraging basketball they’ve played thus far. Markkanen and LaVine each scored 20 tonight, while Tomas Satoransky dished out a season-high 14 assists. Daniel Gafford scored 13 points and went a perfect 6-6 from the field despite leaving the game for some time with an ankle injury of his own.
Tonight was a solid example of how these players have been clicking well as of late, but just don’t have enough firepower (nor the leadership on the sideline) to get the job done. Luka Doncic scored 21 points in the third quarter, and acted as tonight’s example of what a real superstar can do for your team.
Overall, another conflicting night of Bulls basketball.