Since then, White practiced with the Bulls’ G League affiliate on Tuesday, including a 5-on-5 scrimmage composed of four six-minute quarters, and went through Wednesday morning shootaround in advance of a home matchup with the Dallas Mavericks.
“It's been a long road, it's been a long five-to-six months (of rehab), so it's a blessing to be back out there and playing again,” White said after shootaround. “I'm pretty much fully back (at practice) right now.”
White’s surgery, which typically carries a four-to-six month recovery timeline, was on June 10, making a mid-November return right on schedule.
“Soon,” White said when asked when he’ll return to game action. “Real soon.”
After the Mavericks game, the Bulls jet to California for bouts against the Golden State Warriors on Friday, then a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers on Sunday and Monday. Trips to Portland and Denver follow next Wednesday and Friday.
White will travel with the team for that West Coast swing, and added when asked if he’ll return during the road trip: “Maybe. It’s a possibility.”
The Bulls are certainly eager for his return. While the defensive aptitude of their second unit — buoyed by Alex Caruso, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu and Tony Bradley — has sparked multiple comeback victories amid a 7-3 start, bench scoring has been an Achilles heel. The Bulls enter play Wednesday 29th in the NBA in bench points per game (24.7), 29th in bench 3-pointers made per game (2.3) and 26th in bench assists per game (5.8). As a team, they rank dead last in 3-point attempts (26.9) and 29th in 3-point makes (9.5) per game as well.
White, meanwhile, averaged 15.1 points, 4.8 assists and 2.4 3-pointers made per game last season, shooting 35.9 percent from behind the arc on a high volume of attempts (6.6 per game). Those statistics were mostly accumulated as a starter, but White is ready for the transition to reserve spark plug.
“Being in that second unit, being able to use my offensive ability, make plays, get downhill and obviously shooting the basketball,” White said of what he can bring to the team. “Bringing that energy on both ends of the court. They (the Bulls’ reserves) already play with a bunch of energy, and they're very good defensively, so me just trying to fit in on both ends of the court.”
Whenever White returns, there could be a readjustment curve related to his conditioning and on-court rhythm. But he said his shoulder strength and overhead movement have passed every test in front of him, and he hasn’t experienced any shortage of confidence facing contact while assimilating to practice.
“I don't really fear anything,” White said. “When I'm out there, I'm just playing. That hasn't been an issue for me.”
The Bulls hope that extends to his play when he returns to the lineup.