Carter injured his ankle on January 6 and was initially given a four-to-six week timetable after undergoing an MRI. The 20-year-old was posting season averages of 11.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 30 minutes before going down to injury.
“Definitely closer to the four[-week side],’’ Carter said on his potential return, as relayed by Cowley. “My progress has been really good lately, so definitely closer to the four than the six.’’
The Bulls have a 3-4 record since losing Carter, who emphasized that he’s been working on his upper-body strength and watching film during rehab. He’ll likely return just before All-Star Weekend, which is set to commence between on February 14.
“It’s still pretty frustrating, but at the same time, I think everything happens for a reason,’’ Carter said. “That’s something I strongly believe in, so it’s frustrating because I’m a competitor, but on the back end it’s like, ‘OK, this happened for a reason or it could have been worse.’ Just take it in and try to get it better every day.’’
There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:
- Sam Amick of The Athletic examines how the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo have quieted speculation regarding his 2021 unrestricted free agency, where he’s expected to garner interest from multiple teams. Milwaukee has the league’s best record at 38-6, winning its last six games. Their success has been fueled by Antetokounmpo and his MVP-caliber season (30 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 5.5 APG on 55% FG).
- Alfonzo McKinnie is fighting to prove he belongs with the Cavaliers on a 10-day contract, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Cleveland is likely to sign McKinnie to a second 10-day deal after his current contract expires on Sunday, according to Fedor, with the 27-year-old originally signing on January 9. “I’m just excited for the opportunity,” McKinnie said. “Best league in the world so however you get in, you just have to go with that and try to stick. This is my first time ever signing a 10-day. It really ain’t no different mindset-wise. Just trying to put forth everything that you can do on the court to show the organization that you belong, that you want to be around. For me, every year that I’ve been in the league trying to solidify a spot that’s pretty much how I approach it. Just coming out and doing what I can do and leaving it all on the floor and then leaving it into the front office’s hands. Hopefully it’s good enough.”
- The Bulls could look to ramp up trade discussions involving Thaddeus Young and Denzel Valentine as the February 6 deadline approaches, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Schaefer examined different trade scenarios with both players, evaluating Chicago’s potential options.