Flagrantly bad news for Bulls: Caruso out with broken wrist
The consequences of Grayson Allen's flagrant foul on Friday in Milwaukee will be felt by the Bulls for a few months.
The team announced Saturday that Alex Caruso suffered a broken right wrist, will have surgery next week and be reevaluated in 6-8 weeks.
There was no mention of the play in the Bulls' injury update, but both Caruso and coach Billy Donovan acknowledged after the game Caruso injured his wrist when he hit the floor.
Caruso was going up for a dunk at the 5:45 mark of the third quarter when Bucks guard Allen hit him in the air with both hands. Caruso landed hard on his left shoulder and stayed on the ground for a few minutes. Eventually, Caruso taped up the wrist, returned to the game and even knocked down a 3-pointer in the Bulls' 94-90 loss at Fiserv Forum.
Allen was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected. After the game, Donovan didn't hold back with his criticism of the former Duke star. There were multiple instances of Allen intentionally tripping players during his college years.
"It was really bad," Donovan said. "For it to even be extended to a flagrant 2 and be thrown out of the game, clearly the officials must have thought there was some intent there the way he yanked him and snapped him to the floor and his head bounced off the floor. Really dangerous play."
Caruso is the second Bulls player to suffer a significant injury because of a flagrant foul. Patrick Williams needed surgery on his left wrist after a flagrant foul by New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson on Oct. 28. The Bulls have said Williams is likely out for the regular season.
"I'll just say this, we lost Patrick on a flagrant foul to a pretty significant injury," Donovan said. "I think Mitchell Robinson was trying to make a legitimate play on the basketball. It happened to be a flagrant.
"For Alex to be in the air like that and for him (Allen) to take him down like that, you could have ended his career. And he has a history of this. That to me was really dangerous. I hope the league takes a hard look at something like that, because they could have really seriously hurt him."
After the ejection, Caruso missed the two free throws, so the Bulls missed a chance to take advantage of the play on the scoreboard. This was Caruso's second game back after missing time due to both a left foot sprain, and health and safety protocols.
When Caruso spoke to reporters after the game, he clearly did not think he had a broken wrist.
"Wrist is a little banged up," Caruso said. "Went up, was going to try to two-hand flush, little dunk in transition. Didn't really know what happened during the play, But afterward looking back at it, the dude just grabbed me out of the air.
"Kind of B.S. I don't know what else you can do about it. Just glad I didn't have any major, major scary injuries right away. Also kind of worried about my arm. You live and you move on, got to play another game soon."
Now the Bulls will be without their two defensive catalysts for possibly two months. Lonzo Ball is set to have arthroscopic knee surgery next week.
The Bulls will play back-to-back games in Orlando and Oklahoma City on Sunday and Monday. After that, there's hope they could get Zach LaVine (knee) and Javonte Green (adductor strain) back from injuries.
One storyline from Friday's game that got pushed aside by the flagrant foul was two-way player Tyler Cook being added to the starting lineup and asked to guard Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP scored 30 points, but overall it was a good defensive showing by the Bulls.
"I give him a lot of credit. Not a lot of practice time, we kind of threw him out there on Giannis," Donovan said of Cook. "He gave us everything he could defensively. It was the first time he and Vuc (Nikola Vucevic) have really played significant minutes together. I was a little bit worried about how it would go offensively. I thought overall, Tyler's effort and he and Vuc working together was a positive."
Cook, a former Iowa Hawkeye, does have a decent amount of NBA experience, playing for the Cavs, Nuggets, Nets and Pistons the past two seasons. Friday was his second career start.
Wisconsin native Matt Thomas also had a nice game, scoring 11 points off the bench on a night when the other Bulls combined to hit just 4 of 33 shots from 3-point range.