The injuries are mounting for the Bulls as the end of the season nears and that means some players won’t play again this season.
John Paxson spoke to reporters before Saturday’s 114-83 loss to the Jazz and gave injury updates on four players. For starters, Chandler Hutchison and Wendell Carter Jr. both have been ruled out for the season.
Carter showed a lot of promise in his rookie season, averaging 10.3 points and 7 rebounds per game, but has been out since Jan. 15 with a thumb injury.
Hutchison has been out since Jan. 25 with a toe injury. He played in 44 games, making 14 starts, in his rookie season while averaging 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
“He had another scan and he continues to progress really well, but we’re officially ruling him out,” Paxson said of Hutchison. “We’ve kind of run out of time to say to ourselves it makes any sense to bring him back to try to play at the end of the year.”
Those aren't major surprises at this point. More recent injuries to Porter and LaVine will affect the Bulls down the stretch. LaVine missed his second straight game with a thigh injury while Porter missed his third straight with what Paxson described as “a lot of little nagging injuries.”
Paxson said they are monitoring both daily, but it sounds more likely that Porter won’t play again this season.
“Otto has so many little things going on where we won’t push him,” Paxson said. “We may run out of time with him, too.
“We’re not ruling him out completely yet, but it’s kind of trending that way.”
LaVine was limited to 24 games last season after coming off knee surgery and was later shut down for the final 14 games of the season. So far this season, he has missed 11 games with eight left for the Bulls.
“I think it’s important for him to try to fight through some of these little things because last year we shut him down toward the end,” Paxson said. “If his patellar tendinitis doesn’t get appreciably better in the next week, let’s say, then again, you start looking at the reality of it and it doesn’t make sense. But we’re not there yet.”
All these absences do give some role players a chance to prove their worth to the Bulls. Shaq Harrison has been in the starting lineup recently and impressed on the defensive end. Antonio Blakeney also got the start and logged 27 minutes, the most for him since November. Similarly, Brandon Sampson got called up from the G-League and logged a season-high 17 minutes.