It was announced earlier today, via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, that there’s a growing belief around the Bulls office that guard Kris Dunn could be shut down for the remainder of the season.
The injury Dunn suffered occurred on January 31st against the Brooklyn Nets, where Thaddeus Young took a charge and crashed right into Dunn’s knee on the first possession of the game, resulted in a sprained right MCL.
Coach Jim Boylen said to the media after the Bulls’ loss against the Wizards back on February 11th that “Dunn still has some swelling in that knee. Once his swelling goes down, he will get re-scanned and re-evaluated. But he had a lot of swelling.”
The Bulls have 27 more games to play while attempting to make a late playoff push, so being without Dunn for the majority of that stretch would hurt. Badly. Since Dunn went down this season, the Bulls’ defense has dropped from inside the top-ten to dead last in the NBA. They have given up 124.5 points per game in these last four, which also ranks 30th in the league.
Before the injury, four Bulls had suited up in every game: Tomas Satoransky, Coby White, Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn. However, missing Dunn for an extended period hurts his case considering he is entering free agency this year.
His projected market is rumored to be around three years/$27 million, and teams won’t often splash out cash unless they know the player they are getting can stay on the hardwood.
Can durability be promised by Dunn, who hasn’t played over 53 games in a season since his rookie days? This isn’t the first time Dunn has had knee problems. He missed 24 games last season when suffering a similar knee injury on the 23rd of October in 2018.
While he has struggled at times, one of the better feel-good stories of the year is how he went about accepting a role as a reserve when the Bulls added other guards in Coby White and Tomas Satoransky. Dunn proved he can be effective in his new role off the bench as a defensive-minded player who can guard the opposition’s best player at any time.
While he is playing his lowest minutes since his rookie season in Minnesota under coach Tom Thibodeau, he is having arguably his best season yet. He is second in the league in steals, second in the league in DRPM, and first in the league in steals per 36 minutes.
The Bulls are expected to evaluate not only Dunn but Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., and Daniel Gafford over the next few days. We can only hope for some better news after what has been a complete disaster of a season.
With a four-game homestand beginning Thursday against the Hornets, can the Bulls actually make a strong push for the playoffs? They are only four games out of the eighth seed.