Just before the Bulls first preseason game of the year, veteran forward Thaddeus Young was ruled out due to an unexpected lower left leg infection. Today, we finally know more about the injury that kept him out for all four of the Bulls preseason games. And it sounds as if it’s a lot scarier than expected.
On Monday, Young told reporters that he suffered a staph infection called MRSA. As NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson notes, this is the same infection that nearly ended Hall-of-Famer Grant Hill’s career. Even scarier, Young said he was warming up on the day of the Bulls first preseason game when his leg eventually went numb and later swelled up at the hospital.
Young was speaking to reporters via Zoom following shootaround on the day of the first preseason game when he said he felt his leg going numb. He went to the hospital and his leg swelled up. He said he’s past the pain part. https://t.co/1nqjZ8rGoO
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 21, 2020
Fortunately, though, Young did tell reporters they caught the infection early, and he is back to doing some physical activity. But holy sh*t, I think it’s safe to say this all a lot more intense than many of us thought.
#Bulls forward Thad Young says his lower leg infection was MRSA — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
"Thank God we caught it super soon," Young says while he's healing well.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) December 21, 2020
The question now is when will the big man return? And what will the Bulls do until then?
Thus far, we have been given no timetable for Young’s comeback, and I’m not quite sure we should expect one anytime soon. As for question No. 2, the Bulls will have to continue what they’ve done throughout the preseason. Guys like Patrick Williams, Otto Porter, and Chandler Hutchison could all see increased minutes at both forward spots. All things considered, that doesn’t seem like the worst things for this young Bulls team, but Young’s veteran presence does add a much-needed steady hand to the second unit.
Also *and this is nowhere near as important as his health* we can’t deny that a sidelined Young isn’t the best news for the Bulls front office. Many have expected Young to be one of the more immediate trade pieces for this new regime, but the more he stays on the injury report, the less they can showcase him ahead of the trade deadline. And, if we’re being honest, a trade isn’t just potentially fruitful for the Bulls. Young, while a great locker room guy for a young team, is in year 13 of his career. He has been an incredibly reliable presence for years on end, and I think he deserves a chance to contribute to a more obvious contender.
Anyway, hopefully, Young can get back up to speed soon and continue to trend in the right direction. I look forward to seeing him back on the court soon!