Billy Donovan told reporters before tonight’s game that he expects Patrick Williams to return within the month.
The Chicago Bulls 2021 No. 4-overall pick has been sidelined since October 28 due to a dislocated wrist he suffered on a hard foul by New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson. He’s missed the team’s last 62 games.
Billy Donovan believes Patrick Williams (wrist) will be back sometime in March.
He didn't reveal an exact date.
Donovan's preference is to bring Williams off the bench when he's ready.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) March 15, 2022
Bulls don’t have a return date for Patrick Williams yet, but Billy Donovan said he’s pretty sure it will be before end of March
Said Williams will play important role, but that if team is fully whole, he prefers to ease Williams in off the bench, given how much time he’s missed
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) March 15, 2022
Initially given a 4-6 month recovery timeline, we knew the door remained open for a Williams return before the end of the regular season. This possibility only became clearer in recent weeks as positive reports kept surfacing about Williams’ rehab. Most recently, Donovan shared that Williams would begin practicing with the team again on a minimal-contact basis. Considering the Bulls now expect him to return over the next two weeks, I think it’s safe to say this process is going well and it could be only a matter of days before we see him begin practicing fully with the team.
Donovan also provided another long-awaited answer: How will he integrate Williams back into the rotation? Already an inexperienced talent at only 20 years old, Williams has only played four full games with his new teammates, which could create a substantially challenging learning curve with only a handful of regular seasons games left to go. While the Bulls might need his defensive instincts and size next to Vucevic in the frontcourt, letting him more organically feel out his role on the floor and get back in the swing of things sounds like the best path forward. Then, if he shows the signs necessary, Williams could always slide back into the starting lineup depending on the matchup or come playoff time.
We’ll talk more about what this all might look like in the coming days/weeks. The Bulls are about to tip-off against the Kings, so let’s enjoy some hoops and just embrace this positive news for the time being.