Second-year Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams suffered a severe left ankle sprain during an optional individual workout on Sept. 15 and could miss 4-6 weeks, the team announced on Friday morning.
The fourth overall pick in last year's draft, Williams averaged 9.2 points (on 48/39/73 shooting splits), 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 27.9 minutes a night over 71 games as a rookie for the 31-win Bulls. The 6-foot-7 versatile defensive forward is expected to be a mainstay alongside All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic on a roster with playoff aspirations that also added DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball in the summer.
The news comes days before the Bulls are scheduled to host their media day on Monday, the unofficial start of NBA training camps. Four weeks would cost Williams all four of Chicago's preseason games and the Oct. 20 regular-season opener. Six weeks stretches into November and covers an eight-game slate.
Likewise, the Bulls announced Coby White — the projected backup point guard behind Ball — is still recovering from a June 10 surgery on his left shoulder and is not expected to return until November. He will participate in non-contact training camp drills starting Tuesday, according to the team's press release.
White averaged 15.1 points (on 42/36/90 shooting splits), 4.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 31.2 minutes across 69 games last season. The Bulls selected White with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft.
Friday's news is unfortunate for a team essentially operating with a playoff mandate. The absence of two rotational players will put an early strain on a team hoping to build chemistry around their three current or former All-Stars, but the additions of Alex Caruso and Derrick Jones Jr. bolstered depth at both positions.
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