CHICAGO – If you think he’s going to be completely absent from the floor, you’re a bit off.
No, Kris Dunn won’t be suiting up for practice or games for a bit after suffering an MCL sprain in his right knee during the loss to the Nets on Friday. He won’t be re-evaluated for another two weeks, so the Bulls will be without one of their best defenders for most of February at the least.
According to Jim Boylen, however, the guard’s going to remain a vocal motivator for this group, as he saw during Tuesday’s workout at the Advocate Center.
“He sat in the chair during the practice when we had the seven guys doing script and defense; he was shouting out stuff and coaching guys and helping guys,” said Boylen. “He’s embraced that part of it, and it’s powerful for us. We miss it on the floor, we miss it when he’s not traveling. Today he was very vocal, which was great.”
Unfortunately, that’s all he’ll be able to for a bit as the Bulls’ terrible injury luck this season continues. Otto Porter is now only working back from a foot injury while Wendell Carter Jr. is healing up a severely sprained ankle. Lauri Markkanen’s off the court with a stress reaction in his hip, with all of these leaving Boylen switching up his lineups on a nightly basis for a team that’s currently 14 games under .500.
Adding Dunn to that list, which takes away one of their best defenders in the lineup whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. At the top of the league for most of the season in the category, the guard currently ranks second in the NBA in steals with 1.98 per game. Dunn’s defensive wins shares (.110) is second on the team only to Carter’s (.124) and his production on that side of the court has made him one of the more pleasant surprises of this season.
Now he becomes the latest Bulls’ players to exit the lineup, with the Bulls choosing to go with three forwards (Thaddeus Young, Luke Kornet, and Chandler Hutchison) against the Raptors in the first game without Dunn.
“It just sucks for ‘KD,’ man. I’ve been talking to him, making sure he’s keeping his head high” said guard Zach LaVine of Dunn. “He’s been having a really good year; he was leading the league in steals and things like that. You know, it’s tough, but he’s built for things like this. He’s a tough-minded dude, and we’re all supporting him.”
When he gets the chance, Dunn will do the same, even if it’s from a chair on the side of a court at the Advocate Center.