DENVER – “As if things couldn’t get any worse” is getting used quite a bit when it comes to this year’s Bulls team.
From the start, bad luck and bad play have been a plague on the group, who sits near the bottom of the NBA in what is already a lost season just past the halfway point of the campaign.
Now that familiar phrase is being used again about one of the young players who could be key to a successful Bulls’ future – if they can ever get there.
“Wendell Carter, Jr. had an MRI this morning. He hurt his left thumb last night and woke up with tenderness in his left knee this morning.” Coach Boylen
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 16, 2019
Head coach Jim Boylen announced that Wendell Carter Jr. indeed injured his thumb against the Lakers Tuesday night and then woke up with a tenderness in his left knee.
According to Bulls.com, the thumb injury has the rookie center doubtful for Thursday’s game with the Nuggets in Denver. Carter is expected to be evaluated further when the team returns to Chicago after the game as a five-game Western Conference road trip comes to an end.
The seventh overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, Carter has started every game for the Bulls this season, averaging 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in his rookie year. In January his minutes have fluctuated, playing as little as 13 minutes against the Magic on January 2nd after being benched because of his effort by Boylen.
Carter then played 43 minutes the next night against the Pacers. He saw just 17 minutes in a lopsided loss to the Warriors on Friday, but played 30 and 28 minutes, respectively, in the Bulls’ last two games.
The center played those minutes in Los Angeles after injuring that thumb, picking up ten rebounds while scoring six points on 3-of-9 shooting.
Hopefully it won’t be the last time Bulls fans see their top pick on the floor for a while, but with the way things have gone this year, it’s not hard to imagine the worst.