When the Chicago Bulls posted a few images of players boarding the flight to Dallas on Saturday, fans were quick to notice something (or, I guess, the absence of something).
Patrick Williams could be seen carrying a good ole cup of joe in his left hand without any cast on his wrist. We talked more about the initial photo here, but head coach Billy Donovan finally confirmed before the team’s matchup with the Mavericks on Sunday that Williams has recently had his cast removed.
“He’s got the cast off,” Donovan told 670 The Score’s Cody Westerlund. “He’s obviously doing a lot of rehab to regain some strength in his forearm and his wrist. The surgery was an incredibly detailed surgery with what had to be done, so it was really, really critical that he didn’t really do anything with that hand. And he did a good job. He’s progressing. Now the next step is him getting back his range of motion, getting back his strength … when he’s not doing those things, he just wears a little bit more of a brace that he can take on and off.”
No doubt, that’s a positive sign, especially after reading the tea leaves in Arturas Karnisovas’ interview on 670 The Score last week. The Bulls executive of vice president of basketball operations didn’t provide any kind of updated timeline on Williams’ return (initially set at 4-to-6 months), but he also didn’t act like the possibility of him rejoining the team before the end of the season was a crazy thought. Being several months into his recovery process, it’s good to know that possibility remains alive and well.
Donovan also didn’t imply any kind of new return date, and he did share that Williams has moved to wear a brace periodically, which appears to be featured in the image shared below. But it remains encouraging to hear Williams is “progressing” and moving toward strength work.
Patrick Williams appreciation post. pic.twitter.com/TGhRbbGwO4
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 9, 2022
Every injury comes with its own unique recovery process, but I might as well mention that Williams has shown he can recover quickly in the recent past. Remember when he suffered a significant ankle injury this offseason? The team said he would be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks, potentially missing the first several games of the season. Williams went on to return on the front-end of that estimate, even playing in the team’s final preseason game.
Again, this doesn’t mean we will see him return early from this scary wrist injury, but it could be an example of how useful it is to be just 20 years old.