Central Notes: Williams, Haliburton, Fontecchio, Grimes

Bulls forward Patrick Williams hasn’t played since Jan. 25 due to a left foot injury. He’s also dealt with a right ankle injury while missing a total of 12 games this season.

Coach Billy Donovan hinted that Williams, a restricted free agent after the season, needs to give the team’s medical staff a heads-up if he’s not feeling 100 percent.

“I think Patrick has got to get better at when he has ailments and issues, not that he’s not getting treatment, but sometimes – and I’m not saying that this was the issue – but he’s got to really make sure that he’s not taking himself to a point where he’s putting himself in harm’s way health-wise,” Donovan said, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Williams’ hasn’t had any setbacks regarding his current injury but his return depends on his ramp-up activity, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. He doesn’t have discomfort walking at this time but it’s unlikely he’d play against Boston, Chicago’s first game out of the All-Star break, Johnson adds (Twitter links).

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Tyrese Haliburton believes the Pacers can reach the Eastern Conference Finals, and perhaps even represent the conference in the NBA Finals. “I have no doubt in my mind that we can be a conference finals team, no doubt in my mind that we have that capability,” he told Marc J. Spears in an Andscape interview. “And again, I don’t even want to say that because I don’t want to put a limit on it. I think that teams already know when they see us it’s not a walk in the park. That was established last [season] with the way we played. And now add another guy like Pascal (Siakam)  and with the success that I’m having and the success that everybody on our team is really having this year, it ain’t a walk in the park at all.”
  • The Pistons enter the All-Star break with eight victories in 54 gamse. After the Pistons made numerous trades before the deadline, James Edwards III of The Athletic believes that the impact of acquisitions Simone Fontecchio and Quentin Grimes will be one of the top storylines to follow in Detroit for the rest of the season.
  • As for the Bulls, Johnson takes a look at the reasons for optimism and pessimism heading into the second half of the season. Chicago currently holds a play-in spot.
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