Derrick Jones Jr. Breaks Finger, Likely Out 6-8 Weeks

JANUARY 26: Jones will be evaluated “in about a week” to determine whether he can play while wearing the splint on his right index finger, according to coach Billy Donovan, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays (via Twitter). The Bulls said in their press release that Jones could return to action sooner than six-to-eight weeks if he’s able to play with the splint, Schaefer notes.

JANUARY 25: During a workout at the Bulls practice facility while rehabbing from a bone bruise in his right knee, Chicago reserve forward Derrick Jones Jr. broke his right index finger, the team has announced.

Chicago adds that Jones will be unavailable for approximately the next six-to-eight weeks. The fractured digit is currently in a splint. Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago notes that Jones has injured his non-shooting hand.

Jones was two weeks into his recovery from the bone bruise, and had been projected to return in another two-to-four weeks prior to fracturing his finger. In 31 games this season, Jones is averaging fairly modest counting stats of 6.3 PPG and 3.4 RPG across 17.2 MPG for the Bulls. He is also connecting on a career-best 40.5% of his 1.2 three-point attempts per game. The numbers belie the true extent of his impact for Chicago.

His extreme athleticism and 7′ wingspan have made Jones a versatile defender off the bench for the Bulls. The springy 6’5″ forward, still just 24, has emerged as an intriguing small-ball center option for head coach Billy Donovan in certain Chicago lineups.

The injury woes continue for Chicago. Though All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine and power forward Javonte Green recently returned to the team’s lineup in a 111-110 victory over the Thunder after their own injury absences, several Bulls players remain sidelined with long-term ailments. Guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso just underwent surgeries and will also be unavailable for at least the next six weeks of games. Starting power forward Patrick Williams has missed all but five games this season with a dislocated wrist, and will return at the earliest in April.

Jones and his expiring $9.7MM contract were viewed as favorable trade fodder for the Bulls. Were the Bulls to try to offload a young player on a rookie deal for a veteran upgrade as the NBA nears the February 10 trade deadline, Jones could be used to match salaries. With his fate for the next two months now more bleak, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the roster construction choices of Chicago president Arturas Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley. Chicago has been hit particularly hard at the point guard and power forward spots.

At 29-17, the Bulls are currently the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Zooming out, the team has gone a mere 3-7 in its last 10 games as the injuries have begun to pile up and is just four games ahead of the 26-22 Hornets, the seventh seed in the East.

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