The Chicago Bulls needed some good news after their losing streak reached five games on Monday night … and that’s just what they got!
Head coach Billy Donovan told reporters on Wednesday that Alex Caruso has been cleared for full-contact practice. The defensive-stopper has been sidelined since January 22nd due to Grayson Allen’s Flagrant 2 foul that fractured his wrist. The initial team statement shared that Caruso would require surgery and be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks. Caruso reached the six-week mark this past Saturday. And now it looks like he’s finally ramping up to go.
Alex Caruso has been medically cleared for contact, Billy Donovan says. Patrick Williams has been cleared for minimal contact.
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) March 9, 2022
Alex Caruso has been cleared for contact and Patrick Williams has been cleared for minimal contact, per Billy Donovan.
Both may practice Friday but they need to see how next days of workouts go.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 9, 2022
Considering the team first used the term “re-evaluated,” it was unclear exactly when Caruso might be able to return to the floor. However, only positive news trickled out as the weeks went by, and it became clear he was well-positioned to be the first of the three injured Bulls to rejoin the rotation.
Since Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso were forced off the court, the Bulls’ defense has been on a freefall. The team has held the 5th-worst defense rating in the NBA since February 1st, and they have allowed opponents to shoot 46.5 percent from the field, which is the 8th-best clip. Caruso’s presence isn’t going to vault this defense back into the top-10, but there is no question it will improve the team’s inconsistent play on this side of the ball. Not to mention, Caruso’s high-IQ playmaking, athletic cutting ability, and viable 3-point shot will boost the team’s second unit offense.
As for Williams, this is another exciting step in the right direction. The Bulls have always taken an overly-cautious approach with the second-year forward, so this seems to suggest he will be slightly behind Caruso as far as a return goes. But, if workouts go well this week and he does practice on Friday with the team, it surely shouldn’t be long before the Bulls No. 4-overall pick is finally back in the lineup!
More on what the absence of Caruso and Lonzo has meant for the Bulls below …
No Ball, No Caruso, No Balance for the Bullshttps://t.co/y88dbOadbk
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) March 7, 2022