The Bulls lost their defensive leader when Kris Dunn suffered a knee injury 13 seconds into Friday’s game, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Dunn returned to Chicago to undergo an MRI and get a thorough examination from team doctors. A more detailed report on his condition should be available soon.
The injury comes at an awkward time for Chicago with the trade deadline just five days away. Despite a 19-32 record, the Bulls are just three-and-a-half games out of the eighth spot in the East. Coach Jim Boylen acknowledged that several factors are in play as the organization decides whether to be buyers or sellers.
“The health of our team, our future development, our current ability to fight for the playoffs, we’ll take all that into account,’’ Boylen said.
A long-term absence for Dunn would weigh heavily on those decisions. He has become a contender for the NBA’s All-Defensive Team and serves as the on-court embodiment of Boylen’s defense-first philosophy.
“He brings other things that maybe you don’t see on the floor,’’ Boylen said. “He’s a great teammate, he relishes in his teammates’ success. He’s a vocal part of our meal room, our meetings, our video. He helps us learn and grow, so we’re going to miss him on a lot of levels.’’
There’s more from Chicago:
- The irony of Dunn’s injury is that he was hurt in a collision with teammate Thaddeus Young, who is a prime candidate to be traded if the Bulls decide to break up the team, Cowley adds in the same story. Young was knocked backward while drawing a charge, and his head struck Dunn’s knee. Young has been part of trade rumors for several weeks, but is attempting to go about business as usual. “I try not to worry about those things,’’ he said after today’s practice. “I try to continue to come and hoop whether I’m playing for the Bulls or playing for any other organization. … If they have to make a business decision, I understand what it is. I’ve been in the game for a long time. I understand organizations have to make changes and business decisions. When you get into a situation and your back is against the wall, you have to learn how to pivot.’’
- Zach LaVine tells Sam Smith of NBA.com that he’s disappointed not to be named to the All-Star Game, but understands the reasons for the decision. “You just saw the trend where they went for players on winning teams,” LaVine said. “Everybody (who has excelled this season) feels like they are deserving. But there are only so many spots. A lot of guys can make their case.” Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago examines the remarkable numbers LaVine posted in January, which was the best month of his career.
- No Bulls are currently slated to participate in any All-Star Weekend event, even though the game is in Chicago for the first time since 1988, notes Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Wendell Carter Jr. was selected for the Rising Stars Challenge, but will miss the game because of a sprained right ankle.