On the one-year anniversary of losing Wendell Carter Jr. to a season-ending thumb injury that required surgery, Bulls rookie Daniel Gafford dislocated his right thumb just 1 minute, 21 seconds after tipoff.
The Bulls in a statement said that Gafford will miss the next two to four weeks. His streak of registering at least one block in 12 straight games ended.
Replays showed a Wizards pass catching Gafford's right hand. The thumb appeared to bend backward. Gafford ran straight off the court and into the locker room.
"The ball came so fast and I deflected it," Gafford said. "I thought it was just a slight jam of my thumb. I looked at my thumb and it was way more than a jam. It kind of caught me off guard. I had to double-take look at it. This is the first time this has happened to me. I saw the tip of my finger was almost hanging. I was a little starstruck. I ain't seen nothing like that before.
"The pain didn't set in until I got back here in the locker room. Once I sat down, it hurt. It wasn't the type of pain you can't bear. I withstood it. The doctors did a great job. They got me back together. They put my my finger back together like a jigsaw puzzle."
Carter again is out, this time with a severely sprained right ankle that will sideline him for four to six weeks. With both Carter and Gafford sidelined, coach Jim Boylen used Luke Kornet initially. He also featured some lineups with Lauri Markkanen at center.
"It's real disappointing," Gafford said, who had been starting for Carter. "As much as I want to be out there, I'm going to have to take this time to recover and make sure I can go back out there and do the things that I've always been able to do. It's taken a toll on me right now."