All of the happy-go-lucky Bulls fans just got a big old slap in the face.
According to the Chicago Bulls, Patrick Williams has suffered a “severe” ankle sprain ahead of training camp and will be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks. The team did try to soften the blow with a positive official update on Coby White, who is expected to return in November, but this isn’t particularly new information (let alone enough of a silver lining to make me forget about the bad news).
Coby White (shoulder) has made steady progress over the past 4 months, is anticipated to make a full return in Nov.
Patrick Williams sustained a severe left ankle sprain during an optional individual workout, is anticipated to make a full return in 4-to-6 weeks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 24, 2021
I can not express enough how much this absolutely SUCKS for the Bulls. Patrick Williams is a pivotal part of this team starting lineup, and he was expected to hold one of the most important defense roles on the team this season. Not to mention, the team’s depth at power forward is already extremely thin.
Missing out on a veteran player like Paul Millsap feels that much more painful right now, as it looks like the undersized (but lengthy) Derrick Jones Jr. will now be asked to take on a lot of responsibility at the four. Other options to eat key minutes could be non-guaranteed training camp invite Alize Johnson and 2019 second-round Marko Simonovic. DeMar DeRozan also played the majority of minutes at the power forward position last season, so it will be interesting to see how the team chooses to use him with Williams now sidelined.
The hope now will be that Williams can make a speedy recovery and miss only the first few games of the regular season. However, any time missed at all in this pivotal season for Chicago feels worrisome. In a competitive East, the Bulls can not afford too slow of a start.
So while I was metaphorically crying and stuffing mint chocolate chip ice cream down my throw, NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer was doing great journalism!
According to Schaefer, Williams will miss 4-to-6 weeks from the day of his injury, which should have been heavily emphasized in the original team announcement. The injury happened on September 15th, which means he is already nine days into his recovery. A four-week timeline would then put him back on the floor a week BEFORE the regular season started. Meanwhile, a six-week recovery would have him only missing the first four games of the season (DET, NOP, DET, TOR).
Uh, I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a lot better about this whole thing. Sure, he might still miss a few games, but there is also a chance he is in the starting lineup on opening night. The Bulls also will have him back before they start their gauntlet of a schedule at the end of October.
Clarification on Williams’ injury I just got confirmed through team: 4-6 week timeline is retroactive to the injury date (9/15)
Four weeks from 9/15 = Oct. 13, seven days before the regular season opener. Six weeks = Oct. 27, at which point Bulls will have played 4 games https://t.co/UYxs8SjDG4
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) September 24, 2021