As the season opener nears, Patrick Williams gets closer to a return to the Bulls


DETROIT, MI – MAY 9: Patrick Williams #44 of the Chicago Bulls smiles before the game against the Detroit Pistons on May 9, 2021 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. 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 Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – There were two very simple questions that were asked to the Bulls’ second year forward at practice on Wednesday.

First, Patrick Williams was asked if he would play in the Bulls’ final preseason game against the Grizzlies on Friday at the United Center as he continues to recover from a severe left ankle sprain?

“I’m very hopeful, very confident as well,” said Williams. “Like I said, sitting out for me is the worst. Definitely not something I want to get used to. Every since the first preseason game, I’ve been asking ‘Is this the day? Is this the day.'”

Next, Williams was asked about the season opener Wednesday against the Pistons in Detroit.

“I mean, we’ll see. Like I said, there’s not a clear-cut answer,” is how Williams answered the next question. “I wish it was I could say ‘Yeah’ and mean it 100 percent.”

If he could play at this point, it would be on the early end of the 4-to-6 week window given the Williams on September 24th. He practiced full on Wednesday with the team, giving some hope that he could suit up for the preseason finale or the opener.

Naturally, Williams is hopeful that he can, talking openly about how difficult it has been to watch from the sidelines.

“I don’t want to miss any games, honestly. These preseason games that I’ve missed have been killing me. I’m not really a guy that gets injured, I’m not an injury-prone guy,” said Williams. “Missing any games and just watching the fight, that never sits well with me, so I don’t want to miss any games, honestly.”

That may not be up to him as the medical staff will have the final say on when he takes the court. Head coach Billy Donovan praised Williams and the athletic training staff for their diligence in treating the ankle injury to give him a chance to return a little early.

“A lot’s going to depend on how he’s responding, how his ankle is responding from this,” said Donovan.

While eager to get his second season going, Williams understands the caution.

“But kinda like coach was saying, it’s kinda all about how I feel and just going off my ankle, how I feel, how I react from practice days and workout days and things like that,” said Williams. “There’s really no timetable to tell exactly when it will be perfect to come back but it’s just a matter of time and see how I react.”

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