The “growing belief” that Kris Dunn could miss the rest of the season just grew a whole lot bigger.
On Wednesday morning, the Bulls finally released an update on Dunn’s playing status, saying he will now be re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks for the MCL sprain he suffered on January 31st.
OFFICIAL: Kris Dunn will reevaluated for an MCL sprain in next 4-6 weeks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 19, 2020
The Bulls announced Dunn underwent an MRI on the 14th and I guess the results showed Dunn should continue on his current path of rehabilitation before he begins “functional training.”
As it stands, we have no real reason to believe Dunn can make it back on the court before the season’s end. For starters, the backend of this estimate would mean he returns with only six games left on the schedule, which at that point, is it worth it? Not to mention, even if he is re-evaluated in only four weeks, we’re told he’ll move onto functional training and have no idea when he’ll be able to fully resume normal basketball activities. Perhaps if he was definitely under contract for next season or part of the Bulls long-term plans, you’d like to see him back on the court to finish the season strong and clear up any questions before next season, but that’s not the case.
As we discussed over the weekend, we have to start wondering if Dunn has played his last game in a Bulls uniform.
Remember, he’s a restricted free agent this summer, and after the impressive defensive performance we saw out of him this season, other teams could be interested in sending an offer sheet that could pry him away from the Bulls. By contrast, this recent MCL sprain could remind interested teams of Dunn’s injury history (and cloud any offensive progress he may have already made or would have continued making along the way). Indeed, he hasn’t played more than 52 games over his last three seasons in the NBA, and he suffered a similar injury to this one just last season.
If teams are hesitant to sign Dunn, this could certainly work in the Bulls favor. Not only could they potentially keep their defensive anchor around, but they could do it at a lower cost. As NBC Sports Dan Feldman points out, Dunn needed to start 19 of the Bulls final 41 games (or average roughly 24 min per remaining game) to up his QO to roughly $7 million for one year. However, due to the injury, he’s started only 11 of the necessary games so far, meaning the cost of the Bulls qualifying offer for Dunn should be around $4.5 million.
In any case, reading Dunn’s market will be a bit more complicated now, as the offseason nears … as if it wasn’t already.