Whether or not Wendell Carter Jr'.s sprained left ankle or Daniel Gafford's right elbow hyperextension turns out to be serious isn't fully the point.
What clouded an otherwise sunny day Tuesday at Jim Boylen's first practice of his first training camp as head coach is that the familiar injury theme reared its head for the Bulls.
Boylen said Carter's injury isn't considered serious and likely is day-to-day. Gafford celebrated his 21st birthday by heading for more evaluation on his injury, which Boylen said occurred in the final 20 minutes of the nearly 3-hour practice.
"As of this moment, no swelling, little soreness. We expect him to be day-to-day. He’s a tough kid. I’m sure he’ll bounce back," Boylen said of Carter. "We’ll evaluate (Gafford) further as the day goes on and see how that feels."
The developments stirred memories of Taj Gibson accidentally fracturing Derrick Rose's left orbital bone in the first practice of 2015 and Lauri Markkanen suffering a high-grade lateral elbow sprain in the first week of last season's camp that sidelined him for seven weeks.
For good measure, Chandler Hutchison, already sidelined by a hamstring injury, got sent home with a virus.
"I feel it's a guy that plays really hard and stepped on a foot and sprained an ankle, which can happen to anybody," Boylen said of Carter. "I'm not going to overplay it. He looked at me and acted like, 'Coach I'm going to be just fine.' But it's not the time of the year to make a guy play or ask him to play, so I'm not concerned.
"I worry about the (Gafford) elbow. When you hyperextend an elbow, which is what Lauri did last year and if you've ever done that, that's a really weird kind of thing. You can roll an ankle, but an elbow, if it's at the point where it hurts, it probably means you popped it pretty good. And Daniel plays so hard, such a good kid."
Nevertheless, Boylen tried to put a positive spin on the situation after Tomas Satoransky revealed he spent time in a lineup with Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Otto Porter Jr. and Markkanen. That means Markkanen played center.
"We've talked about the versatility of this roster, how we're going to play. You've heard me mention we want to be redundant, where if someone gets hurt, we can still play the same way. We had that opportunity today in midstream," Boylen said. "We flip a guy from black to red, or white to the red team, and we keep playing our same way.
"I do have probable lineups on my board and we've talked about it and (Tuesday) it just kind of happened in real time, which was good. We get to see that. Now we'll watch that film and we'll coach to that. We do different things when Lauri's at 5 than when Wendell's at 5. But it's within the same system."