After falling to the New York Knicks in gut-wrenching fashion on Thursday night, the Chicago Bulls got some bad news on Friday afternoon regarding an injury to second-year forward Patrick Williams. The No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft took a hard fall on a dunk attempt in the third quarter of that game against New York and didn’t return.
After the game, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Williams had suffered a wrist injury but didn’t know anything beyond that. On Friday, the team announced that Williams will be out 4-6 months due to torn ligaments in his wrist that will require surgery. A report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that Williams also suffered a perilunate dislocation.
Here is the play that the injury occurred, in which Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul after review:
Williams laid on the ground for a bit before he was able to get up and leave the floor. He immediately went back to the locker room and was ruled out for the remainder of the game shortly after. When asked about the Flagrant 1 foul call on Robinson that resulted in Williams’ injury, Donovan said he didn’t think Robinson had any intention of harm on the play.
During Friday morning’s practice, Nikola Vucevic, who starts alongside Williams in the frontcourt for the Bulls, reflected on the injury.
“Patrick is a big part of what we do,” Vucevic said. “We’re going to miss him a lot, especially defensively.”
The former Florida State product has started in every game he’s played for the Bulls since entering the league last season, and he’s begun to develop into an integral piece on the defensive side of the ball. Against the Knicks, Williams was tasked with guarding All-Star forward Julius Randle, and he did an admirable job, holding Randle to just two points in the first half on 1-of-4 shooting from the field. When Williams went down in the third quarter, it forced the Bulls to go small down the stretch, sticking guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso on the 6-8 forward with less than ideal results.
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Randle was able to get to the foul line more in the second half, as Caruso and Ball were trying to compensate for the mismatch. Going forward, this could prove to be a significant problem for a Chicago team that was already lacking in size prior to the injury to Williams.