Javonte Green

Injury Notes: DiVincenzo, Bulls, Wiseman, Nuggets

Donte DiVincenzo‘s string of bad luck continued over the weekend, as the Bucks guard rolled his surgically repaired left ankle during warmups on Saturday and is expected to be sidelined for a little while, according to Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).

The Bucks haven’t issued a formal update on DiVincenzo’s status or his potential recovery timeline, but Owczarksi says there’s a belief he’ll be out for “a few weeks.”

It’s a frustrating setback for DiVincenzo, who missed the start of the season while recovering from ankle surgery, then contracted COVID-19 when he was about to return last month. He appeared in just three games for the Bucks before sustaining his latest injury.

Here are a few more health-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Bulls are expected to be without guard Javonte Green and forward Tyler Cook for a little while. As Jamal Collier of ESPN writes, head coach Billy Donovan said on Monday that Green will likely miss two-to-four weeks due to a strained groin. Donovan also stated that Cook has a “pretty significant” ankle sprain and will be out for a couple weeks, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • The Warriors hope that second-year center James Wiseman, who participated in the team’s shootaround on Monday, can begin contact drills next week, says Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports Bay Area. Wiseman has exited the health and safety protocols, but continues to work his way back from the knee surgery that ended his rookie season.
  • In a recent interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said the team will give stars Jamal Murray (ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (back) all the time they need to recover from their respective injuries. Unlike Porter, who is expected to return in 2022/23, Murray has a chance to return to the court this season, though Malone warned that’s not a given. “I’ve told him many times — and I think it’s important for him to hear it from me — (that) there’s absolutely zero pressure for him to come back this year,” Malone said. “At the same time, I tell him, ‘Listen, if it’s in the cards for you to come back and play this year, great. If it’s not in the cards for you to come back and play this year, great.’ He’s gonna come back when he is ready.”

Lakers’ Westbrook, Cavs’ Okoro Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). Lakers guard Avery Bradley has also been placed in the protocols, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Westbrook and Bradley are the fourth and fifth Lakers to enter the protocols within the last three days, joining teammates Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, and Malik Monk.

It’s unclear if the two Lakers guards have registered confirmed positive tests for COVID-19, but if they have, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The news of Westbrook and Bradley entering the protocols coincides with reports that the Lakers have agreed to sign Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception. Westbrook’s and Bradley’s absences should open the door for Thomas to get some run at the point guard spot.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro has entered the health and safety protocols, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). No other Cavs players are currently in the protocols, so we’ll have to wait to see if Okoro is a one-off or if any of his teammates join him in the coming days. If Okoro tested positive for COVID-19, he’ll be in the protocols for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, that Coby White and Javonte Green are the only two players on the team who have cleared the health and safety protocols and have been conducting individual workouts. That leaves eight players in the protocols, and many of them – including Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Alize Johnson, and Troy Brown Jr. – may not be back until after Christmas, according to Donovan.
  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen also provides a few injury updates on Raptors players — Dalano Banton (illness) is good to go, while OG Anunoby (hip) and Khem Birch (knee) will be listed as questionable for the club’s game vs. Golden State on Saturday.

Zach LaVine, Troy Brown Jr. Join Seven Other Bulls In Protocols

Bulls star Zach LaVine has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Troy Brown Jr. has entered the protocols as well, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports (Twitter link), giving the team nine players affected by COVID-19.

Chicago was down to 11 available players Saturday night after Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson were both put in the protocols earlier in the day. The Bulls will need eight eligible players for Tuesday’s game in Detroit, and Wojnarowski suggests that postponements may be considered if the team’s outbreak continues (Twitter link). COVID-19 upended the NBA schedule early in 2020/21, but no games have been moved so far this season.

The team has already signed Johnson and Alfonzo McKinnie under the hardship exception and can continue to add players if necessary, points out Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Chicago has a lighter schedule this week that could help alleviate the roster crunch. After Tuesday’s game, the Bulls will travel to Toronto on Thursday and will get two days off before hosting the Lakers next Sunday. Coby White and Javonte Green both have the potential to return during the week if they clear the protocols, K.C. Johnson tweets.

Under league rules, if LaVine and Brown tested positive, they will miss a minimum of 10 days unless they submit two consecutive negative tests more than 24 hours apart.

Bulls’ Javonte Green In Health And Safety Protocols

DECEMBER 4: Green has tested positive for COVID-19, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Coach Billy Donovan said Green has returned to Chicago.

DECEMBER 3: Bulls wing Javonte Green has entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (via Twitter). Johnson notes that the Bulls have been testing daily after Coby White tested positive on Wednesday.

It’s unclear at this time whether Green tested positive as well. If he did, he’d be out for at least 10 days or until he returns two negative tests a minimum of 24 hours apart.

The 28-year-old Green has been an important member of the Bulls’ eighth-ranked defense. Through 23 games (12 starts), he holds averages of 5.4 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 20.6 MPG with a .495/.385/.750 shooting line. His counting stats may be modest, but they belie his impact. Green is often tasked with guarding the top scorers on opposing teams, usually at a size disadvantage.

In a separate tweet, Johnson relays that Alex Caruso is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Nets. The Bulls’ depth would be very limited if he’s unable to play, with White and Green already sidelined.

The Bulls currently sit with a 15-8 record on the season.

Central Notes: Allen, Rubio, Simmons, Green

The Cavaliers‘ fast start has raised expectations in Cleveland, Jarrett Allen tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Coming off a 22-50 season, the Cavs were hoping to improve enough to contend for a spot in the play-in round, but the team is now 9-8 and has started to aim a little higher.

“We’re definitely shooting for the playoffs,” Allen said. “First, I think people thought, let’s just get in for the play-in game, be one of those ninth or tenth seeds. But now, I guess you’ve got to be in the play-in if you’re seven or eight, but we want to be in one of the old seven or eight playoff spots.”

Allen covers several topics in the interview, including the five-year, $100MM contract he signed during the offseason. Although he was a restricted free agent and the Cavaliers could have waited to match any offer on the open market, they were aggressive and reached a deal quickly to keep him in Cleveland.

“I never thought that would happen,” Allen said of being a $100MM player. “I’m not saying that I didn’t believe in my basketball abilities. I didn’t know that people saw that in me on the court. And you know, now that I have it, nothing’s really changed. I’m still who I am. I’m still going to be who I am on the court. There’s a reason I got the $100 million. I don’t think I need to go out there and shoot 20 threes a game. It’s a dream, and we’ll keep it that way.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers‘ offseason addition of Ricky Rubio has become more important with the loss of Collin Sexton for the rest of the season, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Rubio has ranked second on the team in minutes played in the four games since Sexton was injured.
  • Recent rumors about a possible Ben Simmons trade don’t make sense for the Pistons, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Primarily a ball-handler on offense, Simmons isn’t a good fit for a team that already has Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham, Beard points out. There are also questions about how Simmons would affect the culture of a young team and concerns about taking on his hefty contract.
  • Part of the Bulls‘ improvement on defense stems from more playing time for Javonte Green and the trade for Derrick Jones Jr., since both Green and Jones can guard multiple positions, observes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. They have been asked to contribute more to the team’s interior defense while Nikola Vucevic is sidelined with COVID-19. ‘‘Position-less basketball, right?’’ Green said. ‘‘That’s our job. We’re not here to completely shut down anybody; we’re here to do our part in making life hard on (opposing big men) while (center Nikola Vucevic) is out.”

Central Notes: Cunningham, LeVert, Williams, Green

Cade Cunningham only scored two points in his NBA debut Saturday night, but he was happy to finally be on the court, writes Eric Woodyard of ESPN. A sprained ankle he suffered in training camp forced the overall No. 1 pick to miss the entire preseason and the Pistons‘ first four games.

“I think it was good. I feel like coming in, just being able to make some plays off the ball, get some rebounds. I felt like I was solid defensively,” he said. “And, I mean those are the points that I really wanted to come out and just prove to myself that my ankle was straight and that I could move, guard and do everything else. So, I got all the jitters out now and now I can just go play free.”

Because of lingering concerns about the ankle, Cunningham is beginning his NBA career under a restriction of 20 to 25 minutes per night. He played 18 minutes Saturday, recording seven rebounds and two assists while shooting just 1-of-8 from the field as Detroit picked up its first win of the season.

“I try to keep my energy in the right place,” Cunningham said. “I try to keep my head in the right place and so, my team, they know what they expect out of me, I know what I expect out of me, so that’s all that’s really mattering to me. People can say whatever they want, outside of that, but I probably won’t hear it.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Also making his season debut Saturday was Pacers swingman Caris LeVert, who suffered a stress fracture in his back during training camp, notes Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star. LeVert, who is dealing with a minutes restriction too, made an impact while he was on the court, scoring 15 points in 15 minutes. “The hope is that there wouldn’t be a long period where there’s a restriction but right now it’s just really hard to say, it’s really impossible to say,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Would’ve been great to have him in the second half but that just wasn’t in the cards.”
  • The Bulls will take steps not to lose an entire year of development for Patrick Williams, who will have surgery today to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘He’s probably going to lose a significant amount of muscle mass in his upper body because he’s not going to be able to lift or do anything from that standpoint,” coach Billy Donovan said. ‘‘The more we can keep him engaged with our team (the better) because what happens is the season is going on, and these games are coming and coming and coming, and he can feel like he’s over here on an island.’’
  • Donovan tabbed Javonte Green to fill the open spot in the Bulls‘ starting lineup, just as he did when Williams had an ankle injury during the preseason, Cowley adds. Donovan explained that Green’s energy and versatility on defense make him a good fit with the team’s other starters.

Bulls Rule Out Patrick Williams For 4-6 Months Due To Wrist Injury

2:57pm: Williams will undergo surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist and is expected to miss approximately four-to-six months, the Bulls announced in a press release.

If Williams can get back within four or five months, that’d put him on track to play again before the regular season ends. However, a six-month recovery would run into late April.

1:10pm: Bulls forward Patrick Williams is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the 2021/22 regular season after dislocating his left wrist, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links).

According to Wojnarowski, Williams sustained a perilunate dislocation and will soon undergo surgery. There’s hope that he’ll be able to return for the playoffs, but that’s not a sure thing, Woj adds.

The Bulls have yet to officially confirm Wojnarowski’s report, but head coach Billy Donovan admitted this afternoon that Williams’ injury is “pretty significant,” as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. The injury occurred during Thursday’s game against the Knicks, when Williams was fouled by Mitchell Robinson on a drive to the basket and came down on his wrist (video link). Robinson was assessed with a Flagrant 1 on the play.

It’s a brutal turn of events for Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft who was expected to be a key part of a revamped Bulls roster this season. Many of the team’s top scoring options – Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic – aren’t great defenders, so Williams’ ability to slow down opposing scorers was considered especially valuable.

With Williams unavailable, Chicago’s defense and depth will be tested. As Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets, Javonte Green, who has averaged just under 16 minutes off the bench in the first five games of the season, looks like the best bet to replace Williams in the starting five.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Green, Pacers, Mobley

Pistons point guard Cade Cunningham is set to miss Detroit’s entire early-season road trip due to a lingering ankle injury, but could be ready to make his NBA debut on October 30 against the Magic, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Cunningham, 20, is apparently still dealing with some soreness.

“Last week, we made the decision to make sure we bring him back gradually, where he’d get some time with the G League team (the Motor City Cruise), practice with them, and get some reps with them,” head coach Dwane Casey said of the top draft pick out of Oklahoma State. “The medical people are holding back — and rightfully so… You don’t want to rush him back if it’s not 100%. That’s the one thing that they want to make sure of, that it was 100%, because there were certain movements he had that were still sore.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Reserve forward Javonte Green has already endeared himself to the Bulls faithful since coming over to Chicago at the 2021 trade deadline, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Tribune. “(Green is) one of the biggest energy guys we have,’’ Bulls starting point guard Lonzo Ball said. “Not only running the lane but playing defense. He can guard a lot of different positions, and he uses his hands very well… We definitely feed off of that when he comes into the game.’’
  • Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb and forward Oshae Brissett are proving their mettle as galvanizing scorers off the bench so far this season, according to Akeem Glaspie of The Indianapolis Star“A lot of the time the starters are not gonna be able to have it completely going and be able to make shots,” starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “But as long as we defend and the second team comes in and gives us some energy and a spark off the bench offensively, we’re gonna be fine.” Indiana is currently 1-2 in this young season.
  • Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and his assistants have been showing film of some NBA legends to rookie big man Evan Mobley, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Mobley, the third pick in the 2021 draft out of USC, was utilized much like Hall of Fame big man Kevin Garnett on defense during a 101-95 Cleveland win over the Hawks. He has also watched game tape of future Hall of Fame power forward/center Dirk Nowitzki, as well as current All-Star bigs Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo. “He’s asking me to emulate them but knows I’m still my own player,” Mobley said about Bickerstaff’s strategy. “I try to play my game, take bits and pieces from them, but still be myself and play how I play.” Mobley, already the Cavaliers’ starting power forward, is averaging 15.7 PPG, 8.3 APG, 2.3 BPG and 1.3 APG through three games. Cleveland is 1-2 in those contests.

Bulls Notes: Williams, Ball, Green, Salary Cap

The Bulls are hopeful that second-year forward Patrick Williams will return for the season opener in Detroit, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times. Williams was expected to miss four-to-six weeks after severely spraining his left ankle in mid-September during an individual workout.

“We’re pretty optimistic,” coach Billy Donovan said. “What the [doctors and trainers] really want to make sure is that the sprain has healed adequately, so we’ll probably be a little bit more on the cautious side, just because I think once [Williams] starts randomly cutting, they’ve got to see how he responds. With as explosive and as powerful as he has been, one of the things they don’t want is [to] have something where he’s not quite stable, he does something and tweaks it, and now he’s having to manage that in the middle of the year.”

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Chicago’s ball movement in the preseason opener was superior, with the team amassing 36 assists. DeMar DeRozan says that Lonzo Ball is setting the tone with his play-making skills, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes. “When you’ve got a point guard of that magnitude with that IQ that’s as unselfish as he is, he makes the game easier and it makes it fun. And it becomes contagious,” DeRozan said. “You saw the way we moved the ball. It’s been like that all through training camp, and we expect it to keep getting better.”
  • Guard Javonte Green started in a downsized lineup in place of the injured Williams in that 36-point win over Cleveland. He made a solid case for a rotation spot, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Green posted a stat line of 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals in 17 minutes. The Bulls re-signed Green on a two-year deal early in free agency.
  • The team is still in good shape cap-wise despite all the big moves it made, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes in his review of the offseason and preview of the season ahead. The Bulls are $3MM below the tax line, giving them flexibility to make some in-season moves. While Chicago has improved its roster, Hollinger still projects the club to finish 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Bulls Notes: Starting Lineup, Williams, Vucevic, Markkanen

The Bulls will begin preseason play tonight without Patrick Williams, who is recovering from a severely sprained left ankle. That leaves a hole in their starting lineup, and coach Billy Donovan is considering a number of options to fill it, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com.

Donovan has expressed a desire to play faster this season, so it doesn’t appear he will turn to a traditional big man to step in for Williams at power forward. He has been experimenting with several players to see who fits best alongside Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.

“We’ve thrown Derrick (Jones Jr.) in with that (starting) group,” Donovan said. “We’ve thrown Javonte Green in with that group. We’ve put Alex Caruso in there. We’ve put Troy Brown in there with that group. It’s been hard to really evaluate it because as you’re implementing and you’re putting in, there’s things that we have to continue to get better at and improve upon. And then I think the other piece of it is, how well does the group function together?”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • It’s possible that Williams could return before the preseason is over, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Williams injured his ankle on September 15 and was projected to miss four to six weeks. Mayberry notes that he wasn’t limping at media day and may be ahead of schedule in his recovery. “He’s been able to come in here and shoot,” Donovan said. “We haven’t done anything laterally, cutting-wise with him. He’s been coming in at night, getting some shots up, doing as much conditioning as he can be doing. But he’s done well. We feel pretty good about the way he’s progressing. I guess that’s what happens when you’re 20 years old. You heal pretty quickly.”
  • No team has changed its roster more than the Bulls since last season’s trade deadline, and Vucevic believes they’re ready to contend, calling it “definitely the most talented team I’ve been a part of,” Mayberry adds in the same piece. One concern is lack of depth in the frontcourt after the team missed out on Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency.
  • The Cavaliers will be the opponent in the preseason opener, which means a quick return to Chicago for Lauri Markkanen, who suggested in the offseason that he wanted a “fresh start.” Speaking to reporters today, Markkanen refused to criticize his former team, tweets Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about them,” he said. “When I was here, they treated me well and just things didn’t go as planned.”