BOSTON — Just when the Bulls thought they avoided the injury bug, it popped back up three games into the season — sort of.
Michael Carter-Williams will miss three to four weeks with a left knee bruise, according to an ESPN report. He took a fall underneath the Brooklyn Nets’ basket in the second quarter Monday night, staying down before getting up and walking under his own power, with a significant limp and didn’t return.
And Doug McDermott missed practice at Emerson College in Boston because he entered the NBA’s concussion protocol after getting “hit in the head a couple times” against the Nets, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.
“He felt fine when he got to the hotel last night,” Hoiberg said. “But we just wanted to be safe with him and leave him back. We just have to make sure he gets through the necessary steps and hopefully we’ll have him tomorrow. He was a little groggy last night.”
According to the NBA’s concussion protocol, initiated in 2011, a player “will have to complete a series of steps to confirm that he's healthy enough for competition. Once he is free of symptoms, the player must make it through increasing stages of exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills — while ensuring the symptoms don't return after each one. Then the neurologist hired to lead the NBA's concussion program needs to be consulted before the player is cleared.”
Hoiberg said the Bulls should know about McDermott’s status in the morning shootaround Wednesday before the Bulls play the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
Denzel Valentine’s troublesome left ankle is going to keep him on the sideline for at least the next two weeks. Fred Hoiberg said Saturday before the Bulls’ home opener against the Detroit Pistons that Valentine is suffering from a bone bruise in the ankle he sprained on the second day of training camp. Valentine will be evaluated in two weeks.
“It sucks because of all the work I put in this summer and being around the guys you want to be out there so bad,” he said. “Things happen for a reason, and now that we know what’s going on I at least have a time frame and be patient with it; it’s bad news but good news at the same time as it gives me time to get ready.”
Valentine had been practicing earlier in the week and appeared close to a return after spraining the ankle on Sept. 25. But the third year wing complained of discomfort in the ankle and missed practice on Friday. A scan of the left ankle revealed the bone bruise, and Hoiberg wouldn’t speculate on when exactly Valentine might return.
It’s the same ankle Valentine had surgery on in May 2017. Valentine also missed the last two weeks of last season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. The injury couldn’t come at a worse time for Valentine or the Bulls, who are in desparate need of help both in the backcourt and on the wing.
Though Valentine isn’t a true point guard, he averaged 3.2 assists per game off the bench last season. The Bulls could use that kind of production when Kris Dunn returns on Monday, as Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono haven’t exactly showed promise in the early going.
Instead, Valentine is on the mend and it’s unclear when he might return. Given he’s had surgery on the same ankle before, the Bulls will be cautious upon his return.
“I’m a fighter, I’m not going to quit; just deal with the hand dealt," Valentine said. "I can’t sit here and be negative, I just got to fight, stay mentally strong and this will be bittersweet when I come back and have a great year.”
The Bulls are still scrambling to add depth at point guard and found another body to throw in the rotation.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Bulls "are planning to sign" Shaquille Harrison. Harrison was waived by the Suns on Monday.
In order to complete the move, the Bulls are reportedly waiving center Omer Asik.
Harrison went undrafted out of Tulsa in 2016. The Suns signed him and sent him to the then NBA D-League. Last season, the 25-year-old from Kansas City played in 23 games and made two starts in the NBA. He averaged 6.6 points and 2.4 assists in 16.7 minutes per game.
The Suns signed Jamal Crawford earlier this week and waived Harrison. The Bulls apparently have swooped in.
This move comes just six days after the Bulls added Tyler Ulis, who was also waived by the Suns. Ulis didn't play in the season-opening loss at Philadelphia.
Kris Dunn will miss his second straight game Saturday against the Pistons. His absence against the Sixers showed the lack of depth at guard for the Bulls. Cam Payne started at point guard and split minutes with Ryan Arcidiacono. Payne went 0-for-4 in 21 minutes and led coach Fred Hoiberg to say potential lineup changes are "still up in the air."
Harrison can now join Payne, Arcidiacono and Ulis in a battle for backup minutes at point guard when Dunn returns to the lineup.