The roller-coaster week for rookie Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. continued Friday when a follow-up examination on his injured left thumb revealed ligament damage, which the team has recommended surgery to address. The Bulls estimated his recovery and “return to sport time” at eight to 12 weeks. That likely would end Carter’s promising rookie season if he has the surgery, which a source said is almost certainly his plan.
After Carter visited Bulls hand specialists Friday, the team said in a release that Drs. John Fernandez and Mark Cohen used “repeat physical examination” and “testing under live fluoroscopic XR” to determine instability in the ligament. “We thought we needed him to see our people,” coach Jim Boylen said.
“If you look at it, we’ve lost two of our best defenders in the Justin Holiday trade and Wendell Carter being hurt,” Boylen said. “Somebody is going to have to step up. That’s what we’re preaching. Play those minutes with physicality. We’re desperately seeking more physical play. And maybe our most physical guy is hurt.”
KC Johnson: It should be noted that the Bulls still will shop Robin Lopez and Jabari Parker in advance of the Feb. 7 trade deadline, even with news of Wendell Carter Jr. injury and likely surgery. If they find deals, Cristiano Felicio or small lineup always can be used.
Shams Charania: Chicago Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. is expected to undergo surgery on his left thumb and miss 8-to-12 weeks.
Malika Andrews: Rookie big man Wendell Carter Jr. may need surgery on his thumb, but the Bulls are still awaiting further test results before proceeding, a league source told espn. @KC Johnson first reported.
A follow-up MRI exam Wednesday led Carter and the Bulls to believe the ligament was largely intact, and he was listed as day to day. Carter even tested his thumb at Thursday’s morning shootaround in Denver and vowed to play Saturday against the Heat at the United Center. But the follow-up exam Friday showed ligament damage that the first imaging didn’t detect. ... Carter is still considering his options, and it’s not certain he’ll need surgery or how long he’ll be sidelined.
KC Johnson: Jim Boylen said Wendell Carter has sprained left thumb and is out vs. Nuggets but day-to-day.
June 28, 2022 | 1:39 pm EDT Update
James Plowright: Kupchak on why Clifford was chosen “Early on in the process we leaned towards candidates with experience… We knew defensively we needed to wrap it up a little bit… Some other “Areas” that need to be improved. Clifford brought us a long way in his 4 years”
Rod Boone: Steve Clifford said he expects to play the same kind of uptempo offensive style the #Hornets have used the past two seasons. He also knows expectations are much greater than they were previously and he’s fine with that. “The NBA is all about winning in the playoffs. That’s it.” pic.twitter.com/ekKRRGJYmk
June 28, 2022 | 1:14 pm EDT Update
Per LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk, the only player San Antonio actually wants from Atlanta is Onyeka Okongwu. Also, despite BR’s Jake Fischer reporting that the Spurs are looking for three first-rounders in a possible deal for Murray, that’s also false. Ellis notes Gregg Popovich’s squad would take no less than four unprotected first-round picks. There’s talk that the Spurs are looking to trade Murray for three first round draft picks. I’m told that is incorrect. San Antonio’s asking price for Murray is four first round draft picks with little to no protections. Alternatively, the Spurs want three minimally protected first rounders and two unprotected first round pick swaps.
Interestingly, an insider close to the situation says that the Spurs have multiple teams making a strong push for Murray besides the Hawks. One Eastern Conference team, he says, is offering three first round draft picks and a desirable young player in a proposed swap. He also stated that the Minnesota Timberwolves have expressed serious interest in Murray.
Because he was voted third-team All-NBA this season, Towns is eligible for an extension of up to four years and roughly $211 million. “I can’t wait to sit down with him and his representation ASAP and keep this thing going,” Connelly told The Athletic in a conversation not long after he was hired away from the Denver Nuggets. “He’s special and deserves everything that is going to come his way.”
“I think our goal is to win enough games to put KAT’s jersey in the rafters,” Connelly said. “He’s a guy that’s been through so much, and he’s only getting better and better. We’re going to go as far as he takes us.” With contracts this big, the only question that remains is how much more Towns has to give. Over his career, he has averaged 23.2 points and 11.3 rebounds and has a .624 true shooting percentage. But the Wolves have only made the playoffs twice in his seven seasons, and his performance against Memphis in April had highs (29 points, 13 rebounds in Game 1, 33 points, 14 boards in Game 4) and lows (eight points on four shots in Game 3, 15 points on seven shots in Game 2).