Bulls’ Billy Donovan Gives Encouraging Update on Injury Returns

Alex Caruso

Stacy Revere/Getty Images Alex Caruso

The Chicago Bulls are currently in the middle of a season-long five-game losing streak. The losing streak has impacted the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings as they’ve fallen from second place down to fifth place and are just a half-game in front of the Boston Celtics.

With all the injuries the Bulls have sustained this season the team’s defense has definitely taken a hit. During their current losing streak, the Bulls have allowed 119.4 points per game.

The Bulls have been without three of their best defenders for a large chunk of the season. Patrick Williams has been out since late October with a wrist injury, Lonzo Ball has been out since mid-January with a knee injury, and about a week later Alex Caruso went down with a wrist injury.

Positive Injury News

The Bulls have been patiently awaiting the return of all three players, hoping to get healthy before the playoffs. On Wednesday the team received a positive update on two of the three injured players.

According to NBC Sports Chicago, Caruso has been cleared for full contact in practice, while Williams has gotten clearance for some contact. The update came from head coach Billy Donovan before their game in Detroit.

“In terms of an actual (return) date for those guys, I’m not sure of that,” Donovan said . “But this is the next step — doctors X-raying them, looking at them and now clearing them. So they can do some contact.

“In talking to Alex, the biggest thing he is going to have to overcome is just his strength. The passing. The shooting. He’s been dribbling a week to 10 days now. But he’s been laid up for a pretty long period of time so once he gets that back, that will have a lot to do with (his return).”

As far as Williams is concerned, Donovan spoke about what kind of contact he’s been cleared for.

“We’re putting him in situations where there’s some contact with a guy one-on-one. But it’s not like he’s going to Windy City team and he’s jumping into practice and it’s five-on-five contact,” Donovan said. “Minimal contact is putting him in situations where he’s now guarding a body or a body is guarding him.”

Donovan also provided a brief update on where Ball is with his recovery process.

“He’s running. Because of Patrick and Alex having wrist issues, they’ve been able to run, ride the bike,” Donovan said. “Lonzo has to get built up to sprinting, cutting, lateral movement. That’s where he has to improve.”

Looking Ahead

Donovan admitted after the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday that the is hoping to get fully healthy. This update is encouraging for the Bulls that Caruso and Williams are progressing in their recovery.

Without any setbacks, it does sound like Caruso will be back soon, but the returns of Williams and Ball are still up in the air. Caruso’s return will certainly help the Bulls’ defense, but it won’t fix all their problems.

As it stands right now the Bulls are very much in a holding pattern just hoping that they can get healthy before the postseason.


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