An MRI revealed that starting Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. suffered a “severe” right quad contusion, the Bulls have announced in a tweet. Carter is set to miss at least four weeks of game action before Chicago reassesses him, the team continues.
Carter was having a stellar season. Across 14 games in 2020/21, the defensive-oriented center was averaging 12.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.6 BPG and 0.6 SPG in just 26.9 MPG.. He will now have missed major time in all three of his pro seasons. Injuries limited the 6’10” big man from Duke to just 44 of 82 games as a rookie in 2018/19 and 43 of 65 possible games last season.
Second-year center Daniel Gafford has started in Carter’s stead for the past three games. As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes (via Twitter), forwards Lauri Markkanen and Thaddeus Young have moonlit at center occasionally as well.
Bulls head coach Billy Donovan would not commit to the identity of Carter’s long-term replacement at center, but Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times speculates (via Twitter) that Markkanen could slide up a position during Carter’s absence.
Donovan added that until Carter fully recuperates, he will be fairly limited in his conditioning, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN (Twitter link).