Carter to miss at least four weeks with quad bruise
A regular tradition for the Bulls has been bad injury news and it arrived Tuesday.
The team announced center Wendell Carter Jr. will be out at least four weeks because of a right quad contusion. He missed the last three games after suffering the injury in practice last week, but there was a belief he could return soon.
"I think what ended up happening was because he had some swelling in that area, they wanted to wait for the swelling to go down and do the MRI," coach Billy Donovan said. "And I think the MRI really showed it's a pretty significant bruise. It's going to take some time to heal."
Carter was off to a good start offensively in his third season, averaging 12.8 points. His rebounds (8.0) are down slightly from last year and the Bulls defense in general has been one of the league's worst.
Donovan will likely reevaluate what to do with the center position. Second-year pro Daniel Gafford has been starting in Carter's place. But Donovan could also use Thad Young or Lauri Markkanen as a smaller center, or dust off Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felicio, two players who haven't played much this year.
"We've got to look at some other ways to play," Donovan said. "You know, we played earlier in the game with Lauri at the five, we may have to look at doing some of that. Thad and Lauri together. Maybe you have Thad and OP (Otto Porter), OP at the 4.
"But we're going to have to do some different things because -- and I'm not excluding Gaff -- it's just I think everybody understands Gaff has kind of been the backup 5, he's been a center, but we're going to have to do some things by committee a little bit."
Carter is no stranger to injuries. As a rookie, he was limited to 44 games because of a thumb injury, then played in 43 last season due to a high ankle sprain and the schedule being cut short.
"I think Wendell's a great guy, he's a good team guy," Donovan said. "He's worked hard to get himself ready. It was just kind of a freak thing that happened in practice and just feel bad he's got to miss the amount of time he's going to miss."