When Patrick Williams hit the hardwood against the Knicks on October 28, no one thought he would be seen in street clothes for the next two and a half months. The Chicago Bulls No. 4 overall pick may have looked banged-up, but after knocking down two free throws before exiting the game, the thought of it being little more than a sprain crossed the mind.
Unfortunately, less than 24 hours later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski delivered the harsh early-season news: Williams had dislocated his right wrist, and the injury would require surgery. The recovery time sat at 4-to-6 months, with a frontend estimate that would put Williams back on the floor in late February and a backend estimate that wouldn’t see him return until the playoffs in April.
Technically, that timeline left the door open for Williams to rejoin the team before a hopeful playoff run, but it remained just as much a possibility for him to miss the entirety of the season. With that in mind, Arturas Karnisovas was asked on 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh show about the second-year forward’s status, with everyone hoping for some kind of positive news.
“Patrick is coming back slowly and the schedule is kind of like to be determine,” Karnisovas said. “We’re not going to put any pressure on him to come back. We’re going to go week-to-week and see how he improves. We’ll see in terms of date. I don’t want to put any timeline on it. But it would be great to get Patrick back by the end of the season.”
I guess that is positive-ish?
While no timeline could always mean we don’t see him until next season, it also means we’re dealing with quite the fluid situation. If there was no chance of Williams returning at this point in time, Karnisovas would not have brought up the possibility. Of course, the NBA would have also not denied the Bulls’ request for an injured player exception.
Of course, none of this is to say Williams will return this season, but it’s reassuring to know the possibility remains alive and well this far into his recovery. The only annoying thing about all of this is it still leaves all of us wondering what the heck the Bulls will do with the power forward position as the playoffs near. As an already undersized frontcourt, the Williams injury greatly limited the team’s size up front. Javonte Green (who will also miss an extended period of time) and Derrick Jones Jr. have been solid small-ball substitutes, but whether or not the Bulls can rely upon those two in the same way come postseason time is a fair question.
Many have wondered whether or not the Bulls might seek out help at the position via trade, with some even wondering if Williams could be part of the very package that solves the problem created by his absence. Speaking of which, Karnisovas touched on the team’s possible trade deadline plans, and I’ll leave you with that below.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 6, 2022