Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. is set to make his season debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, league sources told The Vertical.
The plan for Dunleavy to play on Saturday is dependent on him not suffering any physical setbacks between now and then. Dunleavy will travel with the Bulls to Denver for Friday's game against the Nuggets.
After undergoing back surgery and a setback during the in-season rehab process, Dunleavy recently returned to full-contact practices and workouts. He spent two days practicing with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League and flew to meet the Bulls in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday.
Credit to the Bulls for leveraging the D-League, too. The fact that they have no local affiliate (yet) really saved them on travel expenses!
Dunleavy had his back surgery on September 25th, with an estimated timetable of 8-10 weeks. This return means a day over 19 weeks.
Those standing to benefit from this return are Fred Hoiberg for getting players who know what to do, and Bulls fans for a more aesthetically pleasing entertainment product. Losers include Tony Snell and Doug McDermott, who had tons of minutes open to them to begin the season as a 'silver lining' to Dunleavy's absence and pretty much squandered it. It's yet to be seen if Dunleavy will immediately be in the starting lineup, but E'Twaun Moore and likely even Kirk Hinrich (when not in a well) are getting wing minutes over Snell and McDermott.