Caruso left that game after six first-quarter minutes with the injury. Head coach Billy Donovan said postgame he believed an awkward landing led to it.
The front end of that timeline would see Caruso re-evaluated on Dec. 29; the back end on Jan. 1. The Bulls play the Pacers at home (Dec. 26), the Hawks on the road (Dec. 27), then the Hawks at home (Dec. 29) between this writing and Dec. 29. Between Dec. 29 and Jan. 1, they travel to Indiana (Dec. 31) and Washington (Jan. 1) before returning home for the Magic on Jan. 3.
A re-evaluation date doesn't equate to a return date. The last time the Bulls put a one-week re-evaluation timeline on a Caruso injury (the strained hamstring he suffered earlier in December), he returned early. A later return is always possible, too.
But that timeline indicates Caruso will likely miss at least the team's next three games, possibly a few more. The update at least assuages concerns the sprain would lead to a longer-term absence.
The Bulls were supposed to host the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night — a game for which Caruso was ruled out on Tuesday — but it was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Raptors leaving them with less than the league minimum of eight players required to field a team.
The Bulls have had COVID-19 troubles of their own, which continue to leave them shorthanded. Troy Brown Jr. exited protocols on Tuesday, but was listed as questionable for the Raptors game as he reconditions. Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu and Alize Johnson remain in protocols, but each of their 10-day marks will have passed by the Bulls' next game on Sunday, Dec. 26 against the Pacers. Devon Dotson entered protocols on Tuesday.
Derrick Jones Jr., who missed the Rockets game, is also out as of now, but is set to have the strained hamstring he suffered in the first quarter of Sunday's Lakers game re-evaluated before Sunday.
Add Caruso to the list of players on the shelf for the time being.
Caruso has had his share of bumps and bruises in the first third of the season. He missed one game in November with a bruised wrist, then two with a right hamstring strain he suffered Dec. 2 against the Knicks (and forced him out after eight first-quarter minutes against the Nets two nights later).
But he's been a valuable contributor for the Bulls when he's played.
Caruso is averaging caeer-highs in points (8.4), assists (4.0), rebounds (3.7), steals (2.0) and minutes (28) while shooting career-best percentages from the field (44.8) and free-throw line (83) in his first season with the team. He ranks second in the NBA in steals per game and fourth in deflections per game (3.5).