Coby White and the Chicago Bulls’ two-year marriage hasn’t always been pretty, but an offseason injury has put it in danger of ending prematurely.
The team announced on Thursday that the 21-year old guard suffered a shoulder injury last weekend “while engaged in basketball activities away from the team.“
White’s surgery was successful, but he won’t be reevaluated for four months, meaning he’s slated to miss the Bulls’ training camp if not the beginning of the 2020-2021 season, too.
Coming off of an up-and-down year where he saw his role go back and forth from sixth man to starter, this offseason was going to be a crucial one for the young guard’s development.
He finished his sophomore campaign averaging 15.1 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game.
But now it looks like Coby White is going to start next season where he left things off in year two, literally.
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Reason to Be Optimistic?
It’s not great news for the Chicago Bulls, and especially not for Coby White.
But in regards to whether or not four months is a reliable timeline, NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson pointed to LA Clippers’ Paul George as an example of a similar circumstance Friday on Twitter.
The five-time All-NBA wing underwent the same surgery back in 2019.
George missed the first 11 games of the 2019-2020 season, but when he returned, looked the part of his All-NBA self.
But it wasn’t until the following summer that he admitted (via CBS Sports) to “feeling like himself” again, a year removed from surgery:
I had insecurities throughout the season just because I wasn’t all the way 100. Shoulder didn’t feel back to 100. Everything was kind of waiting and hoping, believing in the doctors that everything they were telling me was going to come into this moment now where I feel great, no shoulder issues.
Still, as Johnson notes above, no two situations are the same, especially regarding injuries in professional sports.
And George has been every bit the player he was before his surgery afterwards.
Regardless, the Chicago Bulls now face a reality where they can’t factor Coby White into their opening season plans for the 2021-2022 campaign.
But who’s going to suit up at point guard has been in question long before this.
White Considered Bulls’ Best Trade Chip
Coby White’s surgery will only increase the pressure for the Bulls to acquire a starting point guard ahead of next year.
But how they accomplish that may fall under a new lens with the latest news.
In his latest piece for Bleacher Report, Every NBA Team’s Best Offseason Trade Chip, Dan Favale offered up his take on each of the NBA’s 30 teams’ trade assets, and which of those pieces stands to yield the most this offseason.
When it came to the Chicago Bulls, he argued that second-year guard Coby White could fetch a decent return on the
trade market, even after an up-and-down sophomore campaign:
Youthful high-volume scorers have a way of seducing teams. Coby White is no exception. His off-the-dribble scoring has room for growth, but he is comfortable manufacturing his own shots and canned 34.7 percent of his pull-up treys as a sophomore, up from 32.8 percent as a rookie.
The 21-year old posted 15.1 points per game, 4.8 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game this season.
But despite the expectation being he’ll make a full recovery, this news hurts his trade value, at least, for this summer.
Consider this the latest wrinkle in an already demanding offseason for the Bulls.