After initially having him listed as questionable ahead of tonight’s contest with the Atlanta Hawks, the Chicago Bulls have upgraded Derrick Jones Jr. to available, per the NBA’s latest official injury report.
NBA Denies the Bulls, Derrick Jones Jr. Questionable, Ayo’s Improvement, and Other Bulls Bulletshttps://t.co/Xmnxh0k2Tf
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 29, 2021
After missing the team’s matchup with Miami on December 11th due to a stint in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, Jones was able to return against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 19th. However, the versatile forward played just 5 minutes after suffering a hamstring tweak, one that would keep him out the next three games.
The Bulls have still managed a four-game win streak in his absence, but that doesn’t mean his return to the floor is not needed. Alfonzo McKinnie and Tony Bradley both entered protocols earlier this week, joining Lonzo Ball and their head coach Billy Donovan. Alex Caruso has also been sidelined due to a foot injury (but he does seem to be trending in the right direction). With both frontcourt players and two high-caliber defenders away from the team, the Bulls have had to rely on two-way contract player Tyler Cook as well as 15th-man Matt Thomas. Adding Jones back into the picture will add a more proven commodity back into the rotation.
Also, while the Bulls have been able to outscore their opponents with ease, they have still given up 118 points in two of the last three games. As a lengthy defender who provides strong help defense at the rim and can switch onto opposing wings, Jones should help tighten some of the screws that have loosened with Caruso and Ball out. More specifically, let’s hope he can help keep a spunky Cam Reddish from scorching the earth yet again. The Hawks’ third-year forward dropped 33 points (one short of his career-high) against Chicago on Monday behind eight 3-pointers.