The setback Mike Dunleavy suffered in his recovery from offseason back surgery will cost him an additional four to six weeks, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The timetable is merely for the small forward to resume on-court activity, Wojnarowski writes, so game action is even farther away, notes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Dunleavy had targeted mid-to-late December for a return to the Bulls lineup, Johnson adds, and the idea is that the four-to-six-week timeframe will bring him back to the point in his rehab where he had been before the setback, as Johnson tweets. That would indicate that he’s anywhere from six to 10 weeks away from playing in games again.
Tony Snell and Doug McDermott have filled in capably, each having gone an identical 24 for 52 from 3-point range, as Johnson points out in his story. Long-distance shooting was a key weapon Dunleavy brought to the Bulls, as he’s nailed 39.2% of his attempts from behind the arc in his two seasons with Chicago.
The availability of Nikola Mirotic (concussion) and Kirk Hinrich (hip) for Saturday’s game is in question, but Dunleavy is the only Bull expected to miss significant time, so Chicago doesn’t meet the criteria for a 16th roster spot via the hardship provision. Dunleavy cast a degree of doubt about his ability to return at any point this season when he spoke to reporters on media day, but he quickly backed off that talk, so the Bulls don’t qualify for a disabled player exception, either. Chicago uncharacteristically began the season with a full 15-man roster, though Cameron Bairstow and Cristiano Felicio don’t have fully guaranteed salaries.
Dunleavy signed a three-year, $14.4MM deal in July, though less than half the salary for the final season is guaranteed. He underwent his back surgery on September 25th and the team announced a timetable of eight to 10 weeks at that point, though Dunleavy shortly thereafter threw the accuracy of that schedule into question, Johnson notes. Today marks precisely 10 weeks since his surgery, as Johnson points out.
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