Bulls

John Paxson provides details on Wendell Carter's core muscle injury, surgery

John Paxson provides details on Wendell Carter's core muscle injury, surgery

Wendell Carter's rookie season ended with a setback and his sophomore campaign began with another.

But if there's any silver lining to the core muscle surgery Carter underwent on Tuesday, it's that it was more about cleaning up existing soreness than a new injury the 20-year-old suffered.

Bulls VP John Paxson revealed Thursday on 670 The Score that Carter had been dealing with the injury since high school, something the Bulls knew when they drafted him 7th overall in 2018.

"He played through it in high school, he played through it at Duke and last year, same thing," Paxson said. "It wasn’t anything that really limited him, it would just get sore. And so when he broke his thumb this year and had a chance to kind of quiet his body down, he was feeling good.

"Our protocol was to work him down this summer, ramp him up for Summer League to see how he felt, and if there was any discomfort we were going to address it."

Carter obviously felt enough discomfort after getting back on the floor post-thumb surgery that the Bulls made the decision to shut him down. They followed the same guidelines that were recommended from multiple specialists who recommended the same process of getting Carter back up to speed this summer and seeing how his core reacted.

The good news is that Carter is no longer expected to have that reocurruing soreness. The timeline given by the Bulls - 6 to 8 weeks - means Carter will be back for the start of training camp in late September.

"The rehab is, it’s aggressive. First day out of surgery, he was doing some core things and walking and he’ll ramp up, he’ll be back in town," Paxson said. "But he’ll be ready by training camp. We think this is something that will free him up and he won’t have any more discomfort and he’ll be able to play."

Carter had a promising rookie season going before suffering a broken thumb that required surgery in January. He averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 25.2 minutes.

He'll start again in Year 2, but the Bulls have added multiple options - perhaps as insurance - behim him in second-round pick Daniel Gafford and stretch big Luke Kornet. Gafford has been excellent in Summer League thus far, averaging 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 26.2 minutes.

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls lose to Warriors for 2nd time in 10 days

bulls_outsiders_podcast_website_listen_now.jpg
USA TODAY

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls lose to Warriors for 2nd time in 10 days

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine react to the Bulls 100-98 loss to the Warriors

0:45 - Reaction to loss and Bulls losing to Warriors again

2:30 - On 4th quarter struggles

3:30 - On Zach LaVine’s game-winning shot attempt

5:20 - Viewer comments on Coby White starting

9:20 - Viewer comment on Denzel Valentine leads to Matt rant

10:20 - Viewer comment on Wendell Carter

12:10 - Viewer comment on Sato needing to be more aggressive

13:30 - Viewer comment on Luke Kornet

16:35 - Viewer comment on Denzel Valentine talking trash to Warriors

18:00 - On LaVine not being the issue

19:00 - On Otto Porter’s injury and being out indefinitely

22:10 - Viewer comment on Bulls being contenders

23:50 - Viewer comment asking why Matt is always angry

24:50 - Viewer asking Sabine how he feels about the Bears beating the Cowboys

26:20 - Which team is more likely to make playoffs, Bears or Bulls?

 Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

Subscribe:

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Lauri Markkanen inspires, then fades in emblematic loss to Warriors

lauri.jpg
USA Today

Lauri Markkanen inspires, then fades in emblematic loss to Warriors

When Lauri Markkanen is on, it's inspired. And he was 'on' in the first half of the Bulls' eventual 100-98 loss to the league-worst (entering the night) 4-19 Warriors. 

In fact, there were stretches when it appeared he just might save the Bulls from their second (second!) loss of the season to Golden State.

See: the opening five minutes of the second quarter. The Warriors, trailing 28-23 at the end of the first period, were on a 16-5 run. You could call it a spurt, but it felt more like an avalanche. The Bulls' bench had gone cold, Ky Bowman and Omari Spellman were raining hellfire and the United Center was despondent.

Then, Markkanen awoke. It all started on a pick-and-pop action between Markkanen and Denzel Valentine. With the Warriors flat-footed and scrambling to rotate, Markkanen reeled in a bounce-pass from Valentine at the top of the key and rifled a side-armed bullet to Daniel Gafford, awaiting free and clear in the paint. This is a delightful play, and a rare one for Markkanen this season:

Two straight 3-pointers (one on another pick-and-pop possession in concert with Zach LaVine) followed that, then a cutting dunk to knot the game 41-41. Markkanen finished the half leading the game in points (17), field goals made and attempted (shooting 7-for-11) and 3-pointers, on which he was 3-for-6. The Bulls were ahead 51-50. Too close for comfort, yes, (especially for this team) but in the moment, that Markkanen sequence felt like a true leadership moment. He was carrying the team.

Zach LaVine, after all, hadn't scored until the under two minutes until the half.

"I was getting good looks, my teammates were finding me, and I was getting to the rim," Markkanen said. "No matter how they were guarding me, we found something that worked for us."

Markkanen then proceeded to not score for over 25 minutes of game action, totaling three points in the second half on 1-for-6 shooting. After the game, Jim Boylen was unsure of what exactly changed for Markkanen of the second, but the taste in his mouth was evidently sour.

"I don't know. I mean, sometimes people adjust? They adjust to a guy who's got it going and they change. Sometimes the ball doesn't go in," Boylen said. "That's the game."

Boylen added that he liked the look Markkanen got on a 3-pointer late in the fourth that, at the time, tied the game 97-97. It was the only shot Markkanen made after the 4:48 mark of the second quarter.

"The team goes on spurts," Markkanen offered as explanation. "We go on little runs and they go on runs. That's how the game is, and I feel like we did a good job feeding the hot guy. When Zach got going in the second half, we did the same thing, so... I think that's part of it."

LaVine scored 21 of his 22 points in the game over a seven-minute stretch between the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third. For the third time this season (and second time in three games), LaVine and Markkanen each tallied 20 points. It rang hollow.

So did the team's end-of-fourth-quarter execution, an area they excelled in over the two-game win streak they rode into this one. LaVine, again, controlled the majority of the team's crunch-time possessions, but this time, the team fell short — mustering only 15 points in the final period.

"We could've executed, not turned the ball over," Markkanen said. "Simple plays. Obviously everybody's going to look at the last play, but it's not about that. We had some good looks before that that we gotta make the plays that we need to finish the game off."

Markkanen committed two turnovers and bricked a forced, late-shot clock jumper in the final two minutes. "I could have done a better job making the plays I needed," he conceded.

Ultimately, the Bulls go as LaVine and Markkanen do. Their play reflected the team's generally polarizing offense. After two games of fresher air, Markkanen — 'back' for a half, a leader on the floor — is, too.

"You know, that's part of the learning," Boylen said. "People adjust in the second half to what you did in the first, and you gotta adjust again."

What that adjustment will be remains to be seen.