Ayo Dosunmu

Injury Notes: Caruso, Bulls, Bucks, Embiid, Hartenstein

Bulls defensive ace Alex Caruso will be available for tonight’s play-in tournament game in Miami, head coach Billy Donovan said (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago).

Guard Ayo Dosunmu (quad) and center Andre Drummond (ankle) will be active too, Donovan added. All three players had previously been listed as questionable.

Caruso was said to have sustained a “significant” left ankle sprain in Wednesday’s play-in victory over Atlanta, but the swelling subsided over the past couple days and he told reporters on Friday morning he expected to suit up. The injury was an aggravation of a previous sprain.

Duncan Robinson, who has been battling a back issue, will be available tonight for the Heat, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Robinson was technically active for Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia, Chiang notes, but he didn’t see any action — that might change with Jimmy Butler sidelined due to a knee sprain.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard was a full practice participant on Friday, but two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (left calf strain) was unable to do any live drills, according to a report from ESPN. Reserve guard A.J. Green, who sat out Tuesday’s practice with a left ankle sprain, was able to go through most of Friday’s practice. There have been mixed messages from Milwaukee on Antetokounmpo’s status, with president Peter Feigin saying he”definitely will not be back for Sunday,” when the Bucks will host the Pacers in Game 1 of their first-round series. Head coach Doc Rivers is still holding out hope that the perennial All-NBA First Team member will be ready though, per ESPN. “I don’t know yet,” Rivers said. “We’re still hoping. He hasn’t done anything. Would we throw him out there? Yeah, we would. For us, still we’re not sure.”
  • Speaking of Lillard, the Bucks‘ All-Star said he aggravated his Achilles tendon in Sunday’s loss to Orlando, but his adductor has been giving him the most trouble, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays (Twitter links). Lillard missed four games over the past few weeks with various injury designations, but he said the week off has helped him recover.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid is officially questionable for Saturday’s Game 1 in New York with what the team is calling left knee injury recovery, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Embiid, who missed a few months after tearing his meniscus in January, has been considered questionable for nearly every game since he returned to action at the beginning of April.
  • Since January 20, Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein has only played 30-plus minutes five times due to Achilles soreness. However, two of those instances came in his last two regular season games, and he said he’s ready for an increased workload in the postseason, according to Katz (Twitter link).

Injury Notes: Giannis, Butler, Bulls, Pelicans/Kings

After Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the Bucks are preparing to be without Giannis Antetokounmpo for the start of their first round series against Indiana, Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed on Thursday on Stadium’s Playoff Preview show (Twitter video link) that the star forward’s status “is still in doubt” for the series.

“He has been rehabbing daily with that strained calf, getting treatment,” Charania said. “He has had even some stationary workouts on the court, but he is doubtful to start the series. I’m told this injury could be anywhere from two to four weeks, potentially. We know his superhuman ability, but that clearly puts his status for this series in jeopardy.

“The Bucks (and) Giannis have to have some level of caution in being careful with this calf injury. Already this season, Giannis has had Achilles tendinitis, a hamstring injury as well, and now this calf strain. The last thing (they) would want is for him to get back, rush on the floor with a calf injury, not being 100% and then potentially tweaking that or leading to even worse injuries.”

Crucially, Charania didn’t clarify whether or not the two-to-four-week timeline he cited applies retroactively — Antetokounmpo has been sidelined since April 9 as a result of the injury, so he has already been out for 10 days. Assuming the projected recovery timeline described by Charania began on the date of the injury, the two-time MVP still has a chance to play at some point in round one.

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

  • Jimmy Butler‘s agent Bernie Lee took exception with Thursday’s reports that his client would miss several weeks as a result of his knee injury, suggesting that they were premature, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relays (via Twitter). “We’re going to see the doctor later today,” Lee said on Thursday afternoon, “and it just blows my mind that somebody that wasn’t in the arena has somehow come up with a medical timeline of something that literally four of us, one is the person that got hurt, and me, the person that has conversations with everything, that everything gets filtered through. We don’t even know and now we’re having to live in someone else’s created reality of you know something that I didn’t know.” The Heat subsequently confirmed that Butler had sustained an MCL sprain, though the team didn’t offer any sort of timeline beyond ruling him out for Friday’s play-in game. MCL sprains are typically multi-week injuries.
  • Bulls role players Alex Caruso (left ankle sprain), Ayo Dosunmu (right quad contusion), and Andre Drummond (left ankle sprain) have all been listed as questionable for Friday’s play-in game vs. Miami. Dosunmu and Drummond, who were also both listed as questionable for Tuesday’s contest, seem like relatively safe bets to play, while Caruso is expected to be a game-time decision.
  • There are no surprises on the Pelicans/Kings injury report for Friday, though the absences on each side are notable. Zion Williamson (left hamstring strain) is the only New Orleans player sidelined, while Sacramento is missing Malik Monk (right knee sprain) and Kevin Huerter (left shoulder surgery).

Central Notes: Mitchell, Lillard, Dosunmu, Drummond, Fontecchio

After missing 16 of the Cavaliers‘ final 26 games due to pain in his left knee, Donovan Mitchell said Wednesday that he’s “100 percent,” writes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Mitchell had a platelet-rich plasma injection in the knee and was given plenty of rest as the team’s medical staff monitored his condition to prepare him for the postseason.

Withers notes that the injury affected Mitchell’s movement, as his usual explosiveness and quick change of direction were missing for weeks. A recent 33-point game against Indiana seemed to be a sign that he’s getting back to normal, and Mitchell said he’s ready to carry the playoff scoring load.

“That is just expected of me,” he said. “That’s who I am to myself, who everybody’s expecting me to be. But at the end of the day, I set my own personal goals and this is one of them. It just happens to align with everybody else’s expectations, too. I mean, I put that on me, and I’m not worried about that. I prepped for these moments. My teammates believe in me, and I believe in myself. Now I can sit here and say about this is all I want, but I got to go out there and do it.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard returned to practice today after sitting out Tuesday due to left adductor pain that started over the weekend, according to an Associated Press story. Lillard did some shooting and “all of the walk-through stuff,” according to coach Doc Rivers, who hopes to have him more active when practice resumes Friday. Milwaukee was 1-8 without Lillard this season.
  • Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, who has been dealing with a bruised quad, was cleared to play and is in the starting lineup for tonight’s game with Atlanta, tweets KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Reserve center Andre Drummond, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle, is also active (Twitter link).
  • Simone Fontecchio expects to return to the Pistons next season and said he’s become more familiar with coach Monty Williams’ approach to the game, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit News (Twitter link). “I’m a restricted free agent, so most likely I’m going to be here,” Fontecchio said. “That’s good because being here the last two months, I understand Monty’s system and what his philosophy is and how we play. I’m definitely going to work this offseason knowing what my role is going to be.”

Central Notes: Cavaliers, DeRozan, Dosunmu, Drummond, Rivers, Giannis

The boos that the Cavaliers heard as they left the court after Sunday’s loss to Charlotte weren’t directed at the players, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. There was an organizational decision to rest several rotation members rather than prioritize a win that would have earned the team the No. 2 seed and avoided a potential second-round matchup with the league-leading Celtics. The result was embarrassing, as Cleveland was outscored 18-2 to end the game and will face Orlando in the first round after falling to fourth place.

Vardon notes that the loss of Craig Porter Jr. to a sprained ankle in the first quarter left the Cavs short on ball-handlers. With Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Caris LeVert all sitting out, there was no one to run the offense as the lead slipped away.

“It was difficult (to watch), but we had our plan in place with what we were gonna do with our guys,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “(Our starters) were gonna play those three quarters, and then Craig not being out there made it a little difficult to organize and score in the fourth quarter, but we wanted to stick to our plan, and no matter what was going to happen, we were going to give our guys an opportunity to play.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Thirty-four-year-old DeMar DeRozan finished the season as the NBA’s leader in minutes, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The Bulls swingman was on the court for 2,988 minutes, his highest total in a decade, as he became the first player over age 30 to league the league in that category since LeBron James did it six years ago. “And he doesn’t miss practice. He doesn’t miss shootaround,” Coby White said of DeRozan. “He’s early to everything. Those are the things I notice. He’s always on time. He’s always one of the first ones there. You know how some guys can be. And for him, it’s just his professionalism day in and day out never changes.”
  • The Bulls have some injury concerns heading into Wednesday’s play-in game, notes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Ayo Dosunmu has a bruised quad and Andre Drummond is dealing with a sprained left ankle, and neither is certain to play against Atlanta. ‘‘Ayo is having issues with the running and the starting and the sprinting and the stopping,’’ coach Billy Donovan said. ‘‘There’s been some discomfort there for him. He has to get over that hurdle. I think there is hope he can clear those hurdles.’’
  • Bucks coach Doc Rivers is looking forward to a playoff matchup against Indiana, which was 4-1 against Milwaukee this season, according to Jamal Collier of ESPN. They haven’t faced each other since January 3, which was before Rivers took over the team. “Indiana has had our number all year, so perfect opponent,” Rivers said. “They’ve played great against us. They have great confidence against us. We’ll have great focus because we’re going to have to.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo may not be available for the start of that series, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Bucks star hasn’t played since Tuesday when he suffered a soleus strain in his left calf, and Rivers confirmed over the weekend that there are doubts about his status for the opener.

Bulls Notes: Self-Induced Errors, Drummond, Dosunmu, More

The Bulls lost to the Knicks on Tuesday in disappointing fashion, making a series of self-induced errors, including Torrey Craig attempting to throw an alley-oop to himself before getting knocked down by teammate Andre Drummond, who thought the pass off the backboard was intended for him. The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry sees that play as a microcosm of Chicago’s season: style over substance.

To me, it was just really disappointing,” coach Billy Donovan said. “You’re down by (nine points). There were a lot of self-induced things that I thought we contributed to. Not only that play but other plays that weren’t as loud as that. But that play was disappointing to me.

The Bulls are locked into the play-in tournament but clinched home-court advantage in the No. 9 vs. 10 game against the Hawks by defeating the Pistons on Thursday.

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Drummond left Tuesday’s game with a badly turned left ankle. According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Drummond had to be taken to the training room in a wheelchair and Donovan said his ankle was very swollen. On Thursday, Donovan said Drummond is using a motorized scooter because of weight-bearing issues regarding the swelling in his ankle, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.
  • Ayo Dosunmu missed Tuesday’s game with an injured quad, Cowley adds in the same piece. “I don’t know how long it will or will not be because I think he felt OK after the game [Sunday] in Orlando,” Donovan said. “I think after he felt a little better, it just hasn’t progressed.” According to Johnson, Dosunmu’s deep thigh contusion is giving him issues with being able to contract his quad muscle.
  • In case you missed it, Kentucky is reportedly finalizing a deal to hire Mark Pope of BYU as their next head coach. But if there were any doubts, Donovan reaffirmed his commitment to the Bulls on Tuesday and shot down any rumors of him potentially leaving for the college ranks, ESPN’s Jamal Collier writes.
  • With the Bulls headed for the play-in and potentially out of the playoffs in the coming weeks, Cowley opines that general manager Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls should change their philosophy when it comes to this roster. Cowley believes this version of the team has reached its peak and the front office should consider trading some of its star players and entering a rebuild.

Central Notes: Dosunmu, White, Siakam, Middleton

Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu erupted for 34 points and nine assists against Washington on Saturday, as he continues to raise his potential ceiling of what he can do in his career, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Dosunmu, a third-year guard, is in the first season of a three-year, $21MM contract.

“I always try to be in attack mode,” he said after the Bulls’ 29-point victory. “That’s the growth in my game. Not playing timid, always attacking, whether it’s attacking and keeping my dribble and kicking it out or attacking to score or attacking to get Vooch a shot. I think the most dangerous player to guard is someone who is always in attack mode.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Dosunmu got extended playing time with Coby White sidelined. White missed his second straight game due to a hip injury but Bulls coach Billy Donovan expects to get his starting point guard back later this week, Johnson tweets. Chicago plays Houston on Thursday and Boston on Saturday.
  • Pascal Siakam delivered the type of performance on Saturday that the Pacers have been looking for since they acquired him from Toronto, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files notes. Siakam had 10 points in the second and fourth quarters of a victory over Brooklyn, finishing with 28 points and 11 rebounds. “He played a great overall game and defensively, he had his best game. It wasn’t even close,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And this is what the top players have to do. These guys have to set the tone.”
  • Bucks forward Khris Middleton returned to action on Sunday after missing 16 games with an ankle injury. Middleton had 22 points and seven assists in Milwaukee’s 140-129 win over Phoenix. Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out the contest but coach Doc Rivers is looking forward to having his big three back on the court together. “I know having the other offensive guy really allows us to play both sides of the floor,” he said of Middleton. “I thought at times with Dame (Lillard) and Giannis, we got one-side oriented and didn’t move it. We’d swing it and it’d go back to the same side. With Khris on the other side at times, we can now develop going from a two-man game to a three-man game.”

Central Notes: Mathurin, Gibson, Pistons Guards, Bulls

Losing Pacers reserve shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin for the year will have an intriguing ripple effect on the team’s bench as it prepares for the postseason, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

As Dopirak notes, Indiana is now without two of its top-scoring reserves from the start of the season, between Mathurin and Buddy Hield, who was dealt to the Sixers at the trade deadline. Forward Doug McDermott, the Pacers’ own sharpshooting acquisition added at the deadline, continues to rehabilitate his right calf strain, though he’ll be a big part of the bench when he does play. Rookies Ben Sheppard and Jarace Walker seem likely to get significantly more responsibility as the season winds down.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Workaholic new Pistons veteran power forward Taj Gibson, 38, is over a decade older than most of his new teammates. Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes that the 10-53 club appreciates Gibson’s daily grind, even in his 15th NBA season, and hopes that he can inspire the Pistons’ young, talented lottery pick core. Gibson is on a 10-day deal, so there’s no guarantee he’ll remain with in Detroit for the rest of the season.
  • The Pistons’ decision to, at last, stagger young guards Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey so that one of them remained on the floor at all times seemed to work wonders on Thursday in a 118-112 win over the Nets, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Head coach Monty Williams opted to employ a lineup of Cunningham alongside his second unit in the third quarter that really helped the club hold serve against Brooklyn.
  • Young Bulls guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu have each taken big leaps in their development this season, with White in particular enjoying a breakout year. A lot of their growth has happened with star shooting guard Zach LaVine, the team’s priciest player, sidelined due to injury. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic thinks the improvement of the young guards could be negatively impacted by a LaVine comeback next year, and wonders if the Chicago front office will look to offload the two-time All-Star.

Bulls Notes: Dosunmu, Caruso, Terry, Phillips, DeRozan

After starting the season 5-14, the Bulls have been playing solid basketball over the past few months despite dealing with some major injuries. They’ve gone 22-16 over their past 38 games and currently hold a 27-30 record, good for the No. 9 seed in the East.

Coby White has — understandably — received plenty of recognition for helping the Bulls right the ship, but his backcourt mate Ayo Dosunmu has had an impressive season as well, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

As Johnson writes, Dosunmu has always been able to create an edge while driving, but defenders sagged off him in 2022/23, when his three-point percentage dipped to 31.2% after he shot 37.2% as a rookie. However, he’s in the midst of the most productive scoring stretch of his career because opposing defenses now have to respect his outside shot — he’s up to 41.7% from deep this season.

Over his first two seasons, Dosunmu scored 20-plus points five times. He’s matched that total since January 13 alone, Johnson notes. During that 17-game span, he has scored in double figures 16 times, averaging 15.8 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.1 SPG on .565/.513/.792 shooting in 33.3 MPG.

Dosunmu re-signed with Chicago on a three-year, $21MM deal as a restricted free agent last summer, which is looking like a bargain considering his improved offense and solid defense, Johnson adds.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Head coach Billy Donovan has been relying on Alex Caruso to defend power forwards with Patrick Williams (season-ending foot surgery) and Torrey Craig (knee sprain) sidelined, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. While the All-Defensive First Team guard/forward is used to defending the opposing teams’ best players, he says it’ll be a team effort to make up for the size disadvantage. “I can makeshift for the majority of games,” Caruso said. “We’re going to have to do a better job covering up for each other. Maybe throw some more wrinkles into the game plan of coverages and giving different looks, a little more gimmicky stuff to buy us minutes here and there.”
  • In addition to Caruso, the Bulls have been getting rotation minutes at the small-ball four spot from Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips, a pair of young players eager to make their mark in the NBA, Cowley writes for The Sun-Times. “We know we’re short-handed right now, but the way the vets on this team talk to me, talk to Julian, they preach don’t be afraid of the challenge,” Terry said. “This is how you’re going to make your name in the league if you want to be here for a long time.” He had some rough patches in Sunday’s win over New Orleans, but Terry was also a team-high plus-17 in his 15 minutes, Cowley notes.
  • Chicago’s victory over the Pelicans was the latest evidence of DeMar DeRozan stepping up when the team needed him most, Cowley states in another story. The Bulls were down 12 points in the third quarter, but DeRozan responded by scoring 10 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth, including a three-pointer that sealed the victory with 30 seconds remaining. “It might not always be pretty for us, but they’re going to fight,” Donovan said. “I don’t think they’re in the business of: ‘OK, Patrick’s done, Torrey is down, we’re playing against a really big team, we have no chance. We’ll just go through the motions.’ I don’t think they have that mentality. I think DeMar thrives on that. I think he thrives on chaos. I think he thrives on uncertainty.”

Central Notes: Stewart, Eubanks, C. Porter, Dosunmu, Terry

During Wednesday’s game vs. Phoenix, the Pistons released a statement regarding the pregame incident between forward/center Isaiah Stewart and Suns center Drew Eubanks.

We are aware of the incident between Isaiah Stewart and Drew Eubanks prior to this evening’s game. We are in the process of gathering information about what happened and what provoked it, and responding to the NBA and local authorities.”

Eubanks was punched in the face by Stewart after arriving at the Footprint Center. He said he was OK and called it a “soft punch,” per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Eubanks played in the game, while Stewart remains sidelined with a sprained ankle.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Craig Porter Jr.‘s new four-year contract with the Cavaliers will pay him a guaranteed $1.5MM in 2023/24, nearly tripling the salary of his old two-way deal, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). Porter’s base salary for ’24/25 is $1.9MM, with $1MM in guaranteed money. However, years three ($2.2MM) and four ($2.4MM) are fully non-guaranteed, with no special trigger dates beyond the league-wide guarantee date of January 7. The final season — ’26/27 — is a team option, Marks adds.
  • Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu had a stellar performance in Tuesday’s win over Atlanta, scoring a career-high 29 points (on 12-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three) and dishing out seven assists while playing terrific defense on Trae Young, who finished just 3-of-14 from the field, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Dosumnu has become a much more consistent offensive threat of late, averaging 15.9 PPG on .592/.525/.773 shooting over in the 14 games (32.3 MPG) leading up to Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland. “He’s got incredible stamina and endurance,” head coach Billy Donovan said, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s a skill. [Udonis] Haslem had it. Joakim [Noah] had it. The more fatigued and tired they get, the more stubborn they get and the more competitive and the more they push. He’s got that in him. He can keep his motor running high. For him to do what he did offensively and then to play the defense he did was a pretty remarkable performance with the number of minutes he got.”
  • Second-year wing Dalen Terry has received rotation minutes for the Bulls in 2023/24 due to injuries to Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams and Torrey Craig (Craig has since returned), and while his performances have been uneven, he says the speed of the NBA game is starting to slow down for him, Johnson writes for NBC Sports Chicago. “This season I feel I improved a lot on my discipline, just realizing that sometimes my fouling gets me out of the game,” Terry said. “My confidence level is just so much different than it was last year. … My rookie year, sometimes I was out there and I was like, ‘Man, everything is going so fast.’ It just happened. Now I can see stuff happen before it happens. That’s been the easiest part to me.” Terry, 21, was the 18th pick of the 2022 draft.

Bulls’ Patrick Williams Likely Out Through All-Star Break

Bulls forward Patrick Williams has been diagnosed with acute bone edema in his left foot, the team announced today in a press release. According to the Bulls, Williams will begin a period of “active rest” and will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.

Noting that the Bulls’ last game before the All-Star break is on February 14, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago says a best-case scenario for Williams would see him return to action on Feb. 22 in the team’s first game after the break. However, there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to play at that time.

Williams was held out of Sunday’s game in Portland due to what the team referred to in the injury report as mid-foot soreness. He was wearing a walking boot that day, according to Johnson, who adds that acute bone edema means there has been fluid build-up in Williams’ bone marrow. The former lottery pick said on Sunday that the foot had been bothering him for some time.

“It was just gradual. It’s been a while,” Williams said. “I’ve been trying to do maintenance on it, do pregame work on it, postgame work on it. That Laker game (last Thursday) kind of hit the peak for me.”

A potential restricted free agent at the end of the 2023/24 season, Williams has averaged 10.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 27.3 minutes per game across 43 appearances (30 starts) for Chicago this season, posting a shooting line of .443/.399/.788.

With Williams and Torrey Craig both sidelined, Johnson expects rookie forward Julian Phillips to take on a larger rotation role. Ayo Dosunmu, who replaced Williams in the starting five on Sunday, is another player who could see more minutes with the fourth-year forward on the shelf.