The Chicago Bulls need a replacement starter for a replacement starter.
Javonte Green, who landed the starting power forward spot when Patrick Williams underwent wrist surgery in October, will miss two to four weeks with a groin injury, according to coach Billy Donovan.
It's a significant blow for the Bulls, who have relied on Green's athleticism and energy in ways that transcend the box score.
"Javonte’s played really well for us. It is a tough loss," Donovan said. "I think he has complemented that first unit really, really well."
Alex Caruso, who has been sidelined since Dec. 20 with a sprained foot, is making steady progress towards his return, Donovan said. Caruso's last hurdle will be handling contact when the Bulls have the opportunity to stage regular practices this week because they don't play for three days.
Caruso and Derrick Jones Jr. likely will receive the bulk of Green's playing time. But Green, who averages 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 22.2 minutes, isn't the type of player that is fully measured by statistics.
"It’s good to see Derrick back and healthy. I thought he gave us a good game in Washington. We’ll have to figure it out," Donovan said. "I think that’s the one thing that’s been somewhat challenging. When these guys go in and out and you don’t have practice time, they’ve done a really good job of handling, ‘Hey, here’s going to be your role tonight,’ or ‘Here’s the position you’re in tonight.’
"Again, it’s tough with him (Green) being out because he’s been such a big part of our team and has played so well. But we’ll have to figure out different ways to try to make up his energy because he’s been an energy player for us. I think in a lot of ways when you’re playing as many games as we are, even the back-to-back against Indiana and Washington, you need energy. He’s one of those guys that provide it. Hopefully when we get Alex back that’s another energy kind of player as well."
Donovan also said Tyler Cook, who has played well in Tony Bradley's absence, suffered a "pretty significant ankle sprain" and will be out at least two weeks. Bradley is out of the league's health and safety protocols but will miss his fifth straight game on Monday as he reconditions.
The Bulls have weathered injuries all season. They'll get more practice at flashing their resilience again.