Billy Donovan Provides Ominous Updates on Injured Bulls Duo

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls went into the All-Star break an injured group. They return to action in much the same state according to Head Coach Billy Donovan.

He provided some updates on Torrey Craig and Patrick Williams that were less than encouraging.

“Patrick Williams isn’t running yet and Billy Donovan said team will be “very, very careful” with the forward, who is still experiencing mild discomfort at times with the foot,” NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson reported in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on February 20. “Torrey Craig injured his knee working out over break and is headed for testing, per Donovan.”

“Patrick is doing the light, slow ramp-up. Everything they do is going to be based on his pain and what he can tolerate,” Donovan said, per Johnson. “He has responded really well and done well. But on some of the things he has done, he has felt it mildly. And they’ll be cautious.

“They just want to make sure on the ramp-up, where if he continues to feel pain, they have to pull back.”

Williams is dealing with a bone edema or bruise. The team originally announced a plan for rest before re-evaluating Williams in “approximately two weeks”. That was on January 30. Williams is going on three weeks since being shut down and has not progressed as hoped.

This injury caps what had been a disappointing stretch for Williams, 22, who is averaging 10.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists this season.

It might even help explain it.

He averaged 8.4 points, shooting 37.1% from deep, in nine appearances (with six starts) before going down. But he averaged 14.2 points per game and shot 50% from beyond the arc in 18 appearances (17 starts) from Thanksgiving through the end of the calendar year.

In the final year of his four-year, $32.1 million rookie scale contract and heading for restricted free agency, Williams

Bulls Announce Torrey Craig Sidelined Another 2-4 Weeks

Donovan’s Bulls have gone 7-5 without Williams this season. His loss is only amplified by that of Craig, a valued two-way player on the floor and leader in the locker room. He received another status update soon after Donovan met with the media.

“Injury Update: Torrey Craig sustained a right knee sprain while working out this past weekend,” the team announced on X on February 20. “Craig will be re-evaluated in 2-4 weeks.”

He has already missed 22 games this season.

Craig, 33, is averaging 6.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists this season.

He is in the first year of a two-year, $5.4 million contract. Craig revealed earlier in the season that Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas tried to acquire him for some time.

He has since ingratiated himself with his teammates. Craig has also proven his value as a defender and floor-spacer – he’s shooting 37.4% from outside this season.

Injuries Defining Current Bulls Core

Injuries have become a defining part of this current Bulls core. From Lonzo Ball to Zach LaVine — both of whom are out for the season — the front office has had the injury crutch to fall back on when the time comes to make decisions about the roster.

Even Williams, who missed all but 15 games in his second NBA season, has alternated healthy and injury-marred campaigns in his brief career.

Injuries impact every team every season in the NBA and sports in general.

The difference is how those injuries impact them. As important if not more is how a front office responds to such adversity. So far, the Bulls have fallen short of their goals set by Karnisovas coming into the year. Will they make it three in a row?