For about three hours on Thursday, Bulls fans had a familiar uneasy feeling in their stomach.
Head coach Billy Donovan shared the news that Patrick Williams suffered a shoulder strain in the team’s season-opener on Wednesday. While Williams was able to get some shots up, Donovan said that he would likely be considered questionable heading into the opening night battle with the New Orleans Pelicans. Questionable isn’t a death sentence, but I think it’s safe to say Bulls fans have come to expect the worst as it pertains to lottery-pick injury news.
However, in another sign from the basketball gods that things might be actually be changing for this franchise, Williams started to trend in the right direction as the hour ticked by. When the 4:30 p.m. CT injury report surfaced yesterday, he was then listed as “probable” for the home-opener tonight.
Jump ahead to this morning, and Williams confirmed that he will be good to go.
— Matt Zahn (@mattzahnsports) October 22, 2021
I asked Williams if he saw a replay and whether he thought it’d be worse.
“I didn’t want to see the video,” he said. “They tried to show it to me. I didn’t want to see it. But from what I’ve heard, I got lucky, honestly. I got blessed. Because it could have been so much worse.”
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 22, 2021
Williams also told The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry that he chose not to re-watch the injury, which I think was a pretty good call. I would not want to see my arm bent in a way it shouldn’t go either.
Here is the video where Patrick Williams appeared to hurt his left shoulder.
Scrambled for loose ball before Hayes landed on top of him. According to @rob_schaef, Donovan could view Williams as QUESTIONABLE for Friday.
Williams did stay in and play the remainder of the game. pic.twitter.com/zpE9QlNXP4
— Elias Schuster (@Schuster_Elias) October 21, 2021
The availability of bench wing Troy Brown Jr. has also been in question since Donovan chose to sit him after just four minutes against the Pistons. Brown has apparently been dealing with a “mouth issue” but will be 100 percent going into tonight’s meeting with the Pelicans.
Troy Brown Jr. said he’s 100 percent, ready to go. Said he doesn’t focus on coaching/rotation decisions. His job is to play when called.
Also enjoyed a question about starters claiming bench unit kicks their you-know-whats in practice. Said reserves job is to push starters.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 22, 2021
With Brown apparently good to go, one has to wonder if we will still see Ayo Dosunmu take the court. The rookie gave the team a solid 11 minutes during the opener thank to Brown’s absence, but was it enough to secure him more playing time? We’ll see.