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Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. Expected Back in the Coming Week

Both Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. participated in full-contact practice today.

Photo: NBA.com

The Bulls were back at training earlier after one of the better All-Star weekends was hosted by the United Center, and some pleasing news broke out when both Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. participated in full-contact practice today.

Porter has missed the last 46 games after being sidelined with a foot fracture back in early November. Prior to going down with an injury, he was averaging 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 40% from three. His floor spacing is much needed by a depleted Bulls team that ranks 24th in three-point percentage on the season.

He told reporters recently after practice that he “feels good and will continue to take it a day at a time” to make sure he is pain is free.

“I’m just trying to get back out there with the guys,” said Porter Jr. He expects to play when he is at 100%, which likely could be in the coming week.

Zach LaVine and the Bulls have done their best to remain close to playoff contention, remaining just four games out of the eighth seed. Porter Jr. continued to talk about how important these next 27 games are for the Bulls.

The rebuild seemingly will be portrayed by many as a failure if the Bulls are back in the lottery for the third year straight, and getting playoff experience for a young team is always good — even if that means losing to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in the first round.

As for Wendell Carter Jr., the second-year big was sidelined just over five weeks ago with a badly sprained ankle, which he suffered while going for a driving layup against Mavericks’ big Dwight Powell. He practiced for all but the last ten minutes today and expects to play against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.

Carter Jr., who is one of the best defensive bigs and offensive rebounders in the league, will be a huge addition if the Bulls want any chance of making the playoffs. He is averaging 11.7 points and 9.9 rebounds on the season while proving to be very reliable when given extended minutes.

The next question for Jim Boylen regarding both of these players is how they will be used when they return. Carter is a polished playmaker with a nice shooting stroke, yet he has had limited opportunities to shine in the Bulls’ offense.

As for Porter, he is a threat not only as a shooter, but also as a consistent finisher inside who can drag defenders out when put in pick-and-roll situations in addition to mixing up defenses by playing on the ball. This was something he did a lot of back in February of 2019 when the Bulls were on their last hot streak.

Other injured players in Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn were not assigned timelines when asked by Boylen. Expect them to be reevaluated in the coming days.


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