Per K.C. Johnson, Tony Snell sprained his ankle during Monday’s practice and will be out indefinitely. Fred Hoiberg could not provide an estimate for when he would be back.
Tony Snell will be "out a little while" with his sprained ankle.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 11, 2016
This certainly isn’t good news for a guy that needs to make a tangible impact this season to justify his future with the franchise, and perhaps the NBA overall. That was already going to be a tricky task with Jimmy Butler moving back to his natural position of SF with his backup almost guaranteed to be management-darling Doug McDermott.
Denzel Valentine is another competitor for Snell’s minutes, and he appears to be working himself back from his own ankle sprain:
Rondo practiced. Valentine didn't practice, got up shots as Bulls' 2.5-hour practice ends and worked on treadmill. Snell tweaked ankle.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 10, 2016
Also further complicating matters is the arrival of second round pick Paul Zipser, who has looked—at the very least—playable in his first two stints of NBA action. Though Snell is almost certainly a better three point shooter at this point than Zipser is, the latter will likely be the biggest benefactor of the incoming rotation minutes caused by Snell’s absence. Snell has averaged roughly 16 minutes per game in three preseason contests, so Zipser should get some extended burn the rest of the way to show Fred Hoiberg what he’s got. It would be quite a surprise if Zipser doesn’t spend at least some time with the Windy City Bulls this season, but with the Bulls already weak in the wings and Zipser’s ability to defend multiple positions, him cracking the rotation isn’t totally out of the question.
The Bulls will next play the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center on Friday night.