JANUARY 21, 2:45pm: Carter has undergone surgery to repair his injured left thumb and will miss the next 8-12 weeks, the Bulls confirmed today (via Twitter).
JANUARY 18, 3:33pm: The Bulls announced today that Carter is expected to undergo surgery and be sidelined for about eight to 12 weeks. There are only about 12 weeks left in the regular season, so it’s possible we won’t see WCJ again in 2018/19.
JANUARY 18, 2:24pm: After undergoing initial tests on his injured left thumb, Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. appeared to have avoided a major injury. However, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, a follow-up exam on Carter’s thumb revealed ligament damage that may require surgery.
The Bulls initially feared that Carter suffered a broken thumb when he went down on Tuesday night, and were bracing for a six-to-eight week absence, as Johnson notes. However, an MRI on Wednesday suggested that there were no fractures and the ligament was “largely intact.” Carter had been listed as day-to-day and hoped to play on Saturday vs. Miami.
Unfortunately, according to Johnson, a follow-up exam conducted on Friday showed ligament damage that those initial tests didn’t detect.
Carter and the Bulls are still weighing his options, so it’s not yet clear whether he’ll undergo surgery on the thumb, or how long he might be sidelined, per Johnson. Head coach Jim Boylen said today that Carter is visiting a hand specialist and a decision will be made soon (Twitter link via Johnson).
If Carter has to miss an extended period, it would be another setback for a Bulls team that finally had its core players healthy after an injury-plagued first half in which Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Bobby Portis, among others, all missed time due to health problems.