Alex Caruso

Lonzo Ball To Undergo Knee Surgery, Out 6-8 Weeks

JANUARY 26: Ball will have surgery this Friday, January 28, according to coach Billy Donovan, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. As Donovan previously noted, Ball’s six-to-eight week recovery timeline will begin once the injury is repaired.

JANUARY 21: Bulls head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including K.C. Johnson and Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter links), that Ball will have surgery next week and will rehab and do strength work in the meantime. Donovan also clarified that Ball is suffering from a bone bruise as well as a torn meniscus, and the six-to-eight week recovery timeline will start once he has the procedure.

JANUARY 20, 12:48pm: The Bulls have confirmed in a press release that Ball will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee following an “initial period of rest and targeted intervention.” He’s expected to return to action in about six-to-eight weeks, according to the team.

JANUARY 20, 9:43am: Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has been diagnosed with a small meniscus tear in his left knee and is considering his treatment options, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

As Charania explains, there’s a possibility that Ball will be able to play through the injury while team doctors keep an eye on his knee, but if that’s not deemed viable, he’ll undergo surgery and would miss several weeks. Ball underwent arthroscopic surgery to address a similar injury in the same knee during July of 2018, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes (via Twitter).

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links), the Bulls and Ball are expected to finalize a decision within the next couple days. If he goes under the knife, the 24-year-old would probably be sidelined for about four-to-six weeks, sources tell Wojnarowski.

As we relayed on Wednesday night, head coach Billy Donovan told reporters that the initial treatment plan on Ball’s knee injury was unsuccessful and that team doctors were waiting to see how the knee responded to the new treatment before making any decisions on a course of action and recovery timeline. Ball isn’t accompanying the team on its three-game road trip to Milwaukee (Friday), Orlando (Sunday), and Oklahoma City (Monday).

In his first season in Chicago, Ball is averaging 13.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 5.1 APG on .423/.423/.750 in 35 games (34.6 MPG). He has been the team’s full-time starter at the point and has played a key role in the team’s turnaround, along with fellow newcomers DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso.

While Ball’s diagnosis isn’t great news for the Bulls, the team did get Caruso back in its lineup on Wednesday night following a 13-game absence due to foot and hamstring injuries, as well as a stint in the health and safety protocols. Caruso’s role would increase if Ball misses a significant period of time, with Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White also playing important minutes.

Alex Caruso Undergoes Wrist Surgery, Out At Least 6-8 Weeks

JANUARY 24: Caruso underwent surgery on Monday morning and “everything went well,” according to coach Billy Donovan, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.

JANUARY 22: Bulls guard Alex Caruso will undergo surgery for a fractured wrist, the team announced on social media (Twitter link). He’ll be re-evaluated in six-to-eight weeks.

Caruso suffered the injury in Chicago’s 94-90 loss to Milwaukee on Friday, getting hit by Bucks guard Grayson Allen on a fast break drive. Allen was issued a Flagrant 2 foul on the play and was ejected.

“For Alex to be in the air like that and for him to take him down like that, it could’ve ended his career,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said as part of a larger quote, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Donovan also noted that Allen “has a history of this.”

In addition to Donovan’s comments, the Bulls have also privately expressed outrage to the league office over the play, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter). There’s no word on whether Allen could be suspended for the foul.

Caruso has averaged 8.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game this season and is one of Chicago’s best defenders. The Bulls are already missing several players due to injuries, including Zach LaVine (knee), Lonzo Ball (knee), Patrick Williams (wrist), Javonte Green (adductor) and Derrick Jones Jr. (knee).

NBA Suspends Grayson Allen For One Game

The NBA has suspended Bucks guard Grayson Allen for one game without pay as a result of a flagrant foul 2 on Bulls guard Alex Caruso, the league announced on social media (Twitter link). The league deemed the contact on the play to be “unnecessary and excessive.” Allen will serve the suspension on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Cleveland.

Caruso suffered a fractured wrist as a result of the hard foul and will be sidelined at least six-to-eight weeks. Bulls coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (via Twitter), that Caruso’s wrist surgery will take place Monday morning.

“For Alex to be in the air like that and for him to take him down like that, it could’ve ended his career,” Donovan said as part of a larger quote, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Donovan also noted that Allen “has a history of this.”

Caruso has averaged 8.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game this season and is one of Chicago’s best defenders. The Bulls are already missing several players due to injuries, including Zach LaVine (knee), Lonzo Ball (knee), Patrick Williams (wrist), Javonte Green (adductor) and Derrick Jones Jr. (knee).

The Bucks are currently 30-19 and the No. 4 seed in the East, while the Bulls are 28-16, the No. 2 seed.

Central Notes: Allen, Caruso, Turner, Markkanen

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is defending Grayson Allen after he committed a Flagrant 2 foul Friday night that caused Bulls guard Alex Caruso to suffer a fractured wrist, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Allen has been accused of dirty play since he was in college, and Chicago coach Billy Donovan raised those allegations after Friday’s incident, saying that Allen “has a history of this.”

Speaking to reporters before tonight’s game, Budenholzer offered condolences for the injury, but said he doesn’t believe Allen did anything to purposefully put Caruso at risk.

“Competition is tough and there are things that happen in the games that are unfortunate,” Budenholzer said. “And I know that Caruso is going to miss some time and I feel for him. I don’t want that for any of our opponents, for anybody, but there was nothing that was done intentionally.”

The league office is still reviewing the play to determine if there will be further punishment for Allen, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Caruso didn’t think his injury was serious when he left the arena Friday night, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. He and the Bulls found out this morning that the wrist is broken, which will sideline him for at least six-to-eight weeks. Johnson points out that this was only the second game back for Caruso after weeks of dealing with hamstring and foot injuries, along with a lengthy stretch in the health and safety protocols.
  • Despite being one of the league’s best shot blockers and part of the Pacers‘ foundation for the last six and a half years, Myles Turner is no stranger to trade rumors. In an interview with Mark Haynes of ClutchPoints, Turner says he has gotten accustomed to hearing his name thrown around. “I would say the first time I’ve dealt with trade rumors was probably like four years ago,” Turner said. “I didn’t know what to think of it. As the summers progressed, I kept hearing more things, and that stuff was almost getting done. I kind of got used to hearing it all the time. I just took it as part of the business.”
  • Lauri Markkanen‘s versatility has enabled the Cavaliers to succeed while starting three big men, per Chris Fedor of“People get so caught up in his offensive game — shot-making, shot-taking — that they don’t pay attention to all the other things that he does for us,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We would not be able to play the lineup and the size that we play without him. Us being unique and different is because of him and his ability to do that. We don’t lose sight of that. We don’t let him lose sight of that.”

Central Notes: Lyles, Olynyk, Lopez, Caruso

Veteran Pistons big man Trey Lyles appears to be maximizing his time with his new team, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Edwards takes a look at how Lyles, a former lottery pick out of Kentucky, has reinvented himself as a role player with a lottery-bound Detroit club. Lyles discussed his struggles with mental health during his early NBA tenure.

“My first couple years, if my confidence was down, I’d be out there and wouldn’t shoot the ball,” Lyles said. “Over the years, I’ve tried to improve my mental ability to bounce back… I’ve done a lot of work in the offseason on my mental state of mind. Just being confident in who I am as a player is huge.”

Lyles signed a two-year, $5.1MM contract with the club during the 2021 offseason, and has spent most of his on-court time at center.

“[Therapy] has helped me out a lot,” Lyles, still just 26, reflected. “I have a tendency to get in my head. I just want to go out and use my muscle memory. Therapy has helped me in a variety of ways.”

Lyles is averaging 9.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.2 APG across 39 games with the Pistons thus far.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Injured center Kelly Olynyk is excited to return to the court for the Pistons soon, writes Rod Beard of the Detroit News. An MCL sprain has limited Olynyk to just 10 healthy games with his new team. The 6’11” big man has returned to basketball activities during the last few weeks and expects to rejoin the Pistons on the hardwood at some point during the team’s current four-game road trip. “It’s a long process and you can’t cheat any of the steps,” Olynyk said, per Beard. “You just miss it. You miss competing, miss being with the team, all that kind of stuff, especially in today’s world.”
  • Bucks center Brook Lopez has resumed on-court workouts at Milwaukee’s practice facility, writes Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Lopez, 33, has been recovering from a back surgery that has limited him to just a single game of availability this season for the reigning champs.
  • Injured Bulls reserve combo guard Alex Caruso has proven in his absence how valuable he is to the club, posits Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago’s defense ranks 24th during the team’s last 13 games without Caruso. The 27-year-old out of Texas A&M, one of the Bulls’ best defenders, is expected to rejoin the club at some point this week.

Central Notes: Turner, Grant, Olynyk, Caruso

Pacers center Myles Turner will visit a foot specialist in Los Angeles during the team’s West Coast trip, Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles reports in a Substack post.

“In the last couple games, he’s just felt something so we’re going to get it checked out,” coach Rick Carlisle said.

Turner sat out the team’s loss to the Clippers on Monday afternoon. The league’s top shot-blocker has been the subject of trade rumors this season and a significant injury could alter the front office’s plans prior to next month’s deadline.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons have assigned forward Jerami Grant — a prime trade candidate — to the G League Motor City Cruise as he rehabs from thumb surgery, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. He’ll begin on-court work as the team heads out for a four-game road swing. He will not play in any of those road games, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets.
  • Pistons center Kelly Olynyk is hopeful he’ll be back in action sometime during the trip, Beard adds in another tweet. Olynyk hasn’t played since Nov. 10 after suffering an MCL sprain. He was signed to a three-year, $37MM contract in free agency last summer.
  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso could play on Wednesday against Cleveland after exiting the league’s health and safety protocols, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “He did some work [Monday], he’ll do some work [Tuesday], and probably make some kind of assessment then at that point before the Cleveland game,’’ coach Billy Donovan said. “We’ll have to have a plan for him if he is able to physically play Wednesday, and what his minutes will look like to help him get back to what he was.”

COVID-19 Updates: Haliburton, Clippers, Powell, Caruso, Bolmaro

For a brief period in late December and early January, there were well over 100 NBA players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. However, the situation has improved considerably since that spike. The latest update of our protocols tracker shows just 15 players who are currently affected.

That doesn’t mean no one is entering the protocols anymore though. As Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes, Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton was placed in the protocols ahead of the team’s game vs. Houston on Sunday. Haliburton joins Robert Woodard as the two Sacramento players affected.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates:

  • Clippers teammates Luke Kennard and Justise Winslow have exited the COVID-19 protocols and are taking part in return to competition reconditioning, as Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group tweets. Kennard is doubtful to play on Monday vs. Indiana, while Winslow is questionable.
  • Trail Blazers wing Norman Powell was upgraded to questionable for Monday’s contest in Orlando and his status is now listed as “COVID recovery,” so it sounds like he has cleared the health and safety protocols (Twitter link via Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian).
  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso won’t play on Monday in Memphis, but he’s no longer in the protocols, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • Timberwolves rookie Leandro Bolmaro exited the protocols on Sunday and was available vs. Golden State. He played the final 1:42 of garbage time in a 20-point Wolves victory.

Bulls Notes: Dosunmu, Hill, Trade Targets, Caruso

The shorthanded Bulls have a three-game losing streak for the first time this season, but rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu has emerged as a bright spot, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Making his third start, Dosunmu posted his first career double-double Saturday night with 21 points and 10 assists in a narrow loss to the Celtics.

Dosunmu made nine of 10 shots from the field, committed just one turnover and harassed Jayson Tatum into a poor shooting game. His outstanding performance came one night after going scoreless in 32 minutes against the Warriors.

“Coming from college to the NBA, there’s a lot of adjustments that I knew I had to make,” Dosunmu said. “And I knew that one of the adjustments was going from night to night and understanding that it’s a ‘what have you done for me lately’ league. And it’s so many games that you can’t get too high and never get too low. That was my challenge. (Friday), I had a tough night. I didn’t play to my standards. But I knew we had another chance today to get better. So I just wanted to come out there and try to establish that mentality.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Saturday’s game also featured a surprising contribution from hardship addition Malcolm Hill, notes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Hill, who signed with the team on Friday, played 18 minutes and was on the court as the game was being decided in the closing minutes. He shot just 1-of-5 from the field, but made enough plays to impress coach Billy Donovan“He’s been here for a day-and-a-half,” Donovan said, “and he did a good job defensively.”
  • In a separate story, Schaefer identifies three potential trades to fix the hole at power forward created by the loss of Patrick Williams, Javonte Green and Derrick Jones. Jerami Grant of the Pistons might be an option, Schaefer states, but only if Chicago is willing to part with Williams. Schaefer sees Grant as an ideal fit with the starting lineup and points out that he has prior experience with Donovan in Oklahoma City and executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas in Denver. The KingsHarrison Barnes and the ClippersNicolas Batum may also be options, according to Schaefer.
  • Chicago guard Alex Caruso, who is the only Bulls player currently in health and safety protocols, isn’t expected to return until Wednesday, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Central Notes: Bulls, Karnisovas, Cavaliers, Harris, Caruso

The Bulls have been dealing with several injuries at power forward this season, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. In addition to starting forward Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr., Javonte Green and Alex Caruso are all sidelined due to injuries or health and safety protocols.

Chicago has a starting core of Lonzo BallZach LaVineDeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. At power forward, Williams started all five of his games, but the 20-year-old suffered a dislocated wrist in November and is expected to miss most or all of the season.

Jones is likely to miss two-to-four weeks due to a bone bruise in his knee, Green is sidelined with an adductor injury, and Caruso is still in protocols. As for Williams, the Bulls have simply been working on getting his conditioning up this month.

‘‘We’re trying to get him just a conditioning piece; he can do some of that,’’ head coach Billy Donovan said. ‘‘He still has to be very, very careful with the [wrist] in terms of being around a lot of people. There is some form shooting they are allowing him to do. Just trying to get his movements back and trying to get him working on defense, cutting.

‘‘That’s kind of the focus for him right now. He’s been cleared to do a lot of the cardiovascular stuff.’’

There’s more from the Central Division tonight:

  • Bulls executive VP Arturas Karnisovas received praise from president and COO Michael Reinsdorf for helping make the team relevant again, Adrian Wojnarowski of writes. “When we hired Arturas, I was confident that he would help turn things around, but I can’t say I thought it would be this quickly,” Reinsdorf said. “There are no issues. There’s no drama. Just everyone wanting to get to the next level. It’s a good feeling.”
  • The Cavaliers would be interested in acquiring Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris ahead of the February 10 trade deadline, according to Chris Fedor of (hat tip to HoopsHype). Harris played 14 games this season due to ankle surgery, but the 30-year-old averaged 14.1 points on 48% shooting from deep last season.
  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso could return on Wednesday against the Cavaliers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter). As noted previously, Caruso is currently in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He was also dealing with a foot sprain this month.

Derrick Jones Jr. Suffers Bone Bruise In Knee, Out 2-4 Weeks

6:13pm: The Bulls announced that Jones will miss two-to-four weeks with the bone bruise instead of the originally reported four-to-six, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).

1:02pm: Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. will miss four-to-six weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Jones suffered the injury on an awkward landing 36 seconds into Wednesday’s game against the Nets, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. He had to be helped to the locker room, and the team announced that he wouldn’t return.

Jones has started Chicago’s last six games while Javonte Green has been sidelined with a groin strain. After coming to the Bulls in an offseason trade, Jones is averaging 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds through 31 games.

Chicago is also missing guard Alex Caruso, another member of its rotation, who remains in the league’s health and safety protocols and isn’t expected back for Friday’s game.

“It’s going to be tough because you can’t replace those guys,” Zach LaVine said. “It’s always been a next-man-up mentality that we’ve had. It’s something we’re going to have to do because it’s not like anybody is going to feel sorry for us having some guys out. Everybody’s had guys out.”