A night when the Chicago Bulls won a close game late against the tanking Memphis Grizzlies (and thus dropping to 9th in the lottery standings) was made worse when the point guard of the future (?) was injured again.
Kris Dunn left the game in the fourth quarter after spraining his big toe on his right foot. However, further examinations at least ruled out further damage.
X-rays negative for Dunn. Day-to-day with sprained big right toe.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 16, 2018
Dunn has had bad luck with injuries all season. He missed the first four games of the season after suffering an open dislocation of his left index finger in the preseason. He missed 11 games from Jan. 20 until Feb. 12 after sustaining a concussion on a scary fall on a dunk attempt against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 17.
If he misses extended time with the current injury, that’s a negative development for the Bulls for several reasons. With the season lost and player development a priority, missing out on game reps is never a positive for a young player still trying to get a feel for the NBA game.
Also, Dunn can’t afford to miss opportunities to build synergy with his teammates. Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, and Zach LaVine have a -21.6 net rating in 255 minutes of playing time together this season. Dunn and LaVine in particular still haven’t figured out how to coexist, as their ball dominant styles have noticeably clashed in their time on the court together. Markkanen himself has been out the past two games with what’s been the 4th recurrence of a back issue.
Cameron Payne may earn his second NBA start in the next game. He’s quietly exceeded (admittedly low) expectations once he returned from his injury. Jerian Grant, who has played only about 16 minutes since the All-Star break, would likely slot in at the backup point guard role in this scenario.
A disastrous season for the Bulls took another wrong turn if Dunn misses substantial time with this injury. After hearing so much how he didn’t play enough as a rookie under Thibodeau, it’s worth noting that he’s currently at less than 200 more minutes played this year than that one.