So Much for Back Around the All Star Break: Same Seven Bulls Still Out

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So Much for Back Around the All Star Break: Same Seven Bulls Still Out

Chicago Bulls

What’s the hold-up?

Seven Bulls players have been sidelined due to injury since the Bulls returned from the All-Star break: Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Luke Kornet, Chandler Hutchison, and Denzel Valentine.

At least five of those players were viewed as key members of the Bulls rotation at the beginning of the season, and all five have now missed significant time. Thanks to the long All-Star break, the expectation became that at least some of the Bulls core pieces could return for the (then) remaining 27 games on the calendar.

Then, optimism grew a bit more as Carter Jr. and Porter both participated in practice immediately coming out of the break. However, we now sit four games out of the break, and according to Jim Boylen, neither player will take the court tonight.

Carter Jr. was even officially upgraded to questionable this morning but only a couple of hours later, he found himself back in the “out” department. The big man’s timetable has specifically been frustrating since he told reporters on February 14th that he hoped to play in the Bulls’ first game out of the break. While that always seemed a bit far fetched, a return over the first three games felt somewhat plausible. Alas – here we are.

Anyway, let’s recap where each player is at in their injury recovery, since there are so many of them …

Wendell Carter Jr.

  • Injury: ankle
  • Initially estimated recovery: 4-6 weeks
  • Current recovery: Thursday will mark 7 weeks
  • Last update: “He’s still moving in the right direction, but he’s out.” – Jim Boylen (today)

Otto Porter

  • Injury: Foot sprain
  • Initially estimated recovery: Out indefinitely, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on December 27th that Porter was eyeing a return “around” the All-Star break. Johnson reported the Bulls plans to hopefully have him on the court soon after the break on February 13th.
  • Current recovery: 109 days and counting
  • Last update: Ran 3-on-3 with Carter Jr. and Valentine on the 21st and seems to be a participant in practice.

Lauri Markkanen

  • Injury: Pelvis
  • Initially estimated recovery: 4-6 weeks
  • Current recovery: 4 weeks
  • Last update: None

Kris Dunn

  • Injury: MCL sprain
  • Initially estimated recovery: Injured on January 31st with initial plans to re-evaluate in two weeks.
  • Current recovery: A little over 3 weeks.
  • Last update: On February 19th, Bulls announced Dunn would be re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks.

Chandler Hutchison

  • Injury: Shoulder
  • Initially estimated recovery: Indefinite
  • Current recovery: Anywhere between a week to two weeks.
  • Last update: The timeline here is iffy. Hutchison apparently re-aggravated his shoulder in the game against the Wizards on February 11th, but we didn’t hear anything about it until after the All-Star break. The most recent update didn’t supply a projected return time, but Hutchison did say he plans to play again this season.

Denzel Valentine

  • Injury: Hamstring
  • Initially estimated recovery: Beats me.
  • Current recovery: Just under two weeks (has missed the last six games)
  • Last update: Participated in 3-on-3 with Carter Jr. and Porter.

Luke Kornet

  • Injury: Ankle
  • Initially estimated recovery: Indefinite
  • Current recovery: A couple of days (suffered the injury in practice on February 21st).
  • Last update: No update since the injury.

What can we conclude from this? There is a lot of uncertainty.

To be fair, while we hoped specifically that Carter Jr., Porter, and Markkanen would return by now, John Paxson did say in his press conference earlier this month that the Bulls hoped to get guys back at the floor by the end of February or the start of March. After tonight, the Bulls will have at least one more chance to get back some guys this month with a game on Saturday against the Knicks. I have to imagine with a three-day break at least SOMEONE returns this weekend … but who the heck really knows at this point.

I’m all for making sure guys are 100 percent healthy, but the amount of injuries and the continued skepticism on return dates has been frustrating. I suppose there is a world where this is the team’s way of quietly “tanking,” but I’d sure like to see this core healthy for at least a couple of games before season’s end.

Oh well, time to look forward to another 9-man rotation tonight! Go crazy, Coby!

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.