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Bulls’ Williams sprains ankle, out 4-6 weeks, will miss start of season

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Chicago Bulls v San Antonio Spurs

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 10: Patrick Williams #44 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball during the game against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2021 Las Vegas Summer League on August 10, 2021 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

This is a rough way for Chicago to start training camp next week.

Patrick Williams, projected to be the Bulls’ starting power forward, is out 4-6 weeks with a sprained ankle suffered in a voluntary workout, the team announced.

That 4-6 week timeline has Williams returning a few weeks into the season.

The Bulls loaded up on talent both this offseason — Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan — and at the trade deadline last season with Nikola Vucevic. The idea is to put enough quality players around Zach LaVine that the Bulls both win and convince LaVine to stay as a free agent next summer (the Olympian will have options if he signals he wants to leave the Bulls, something he has not done to this point).

While those additions shrunk the offensive pressure on Williams, he will be critical for them defensively — and that is the end of the court where the Bulls will need the most help. The Bulls need him to be a Swiss Army Knife/glue player that helps all that talent fit this season. The Bulls need Williams to step up this season. He looked like he could be that guy at Summer League — averaging 21 points a game and shooting 43.8% from 3 — but it’s very different to do that against NBA-level competition.

This season will be a real test of what Williams can become as a player.

But that will have to wait at least a month.