The Chicago Bulls announced on Thursday afternoon that two-way player Antonio Blakeney will miss the remainder of the season after MRI evaluations revealed a non-displaced scaphoid fracture in his left wrist.
Blakeney suffered the injury against the New York Knicks on Monday. He played 23 minutes on Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets after the Bulls originally diagnosed the injury as a left wrist sprain.
The injury comes at a horrible time for Blakeney who had the opportunity to finish off the remainder of the season at the NBA level. With ‘player development’ paramount, the Bulls had played him 23.5 minutes per game in the last six games.
Blakeney, one of the Bulls two two-way players for this season, took the NBA G League by storm in his 32 game with the Windy City Bulls this season. In those games, he averaged 32 points per game on 46.2 percent from the field. Blakeney leads the G League in total points, points per game, and set a Windy City Bulls franchise record with 46 points in one game last December.
In a much more limited role in the NBA, that G League success hasn’t translated over. Labeled immediately as a gun slinger on offense, Blakeney has averaged 16.4 field goal attempts per 36 minutes with the Chicago Bulls (third highest on the team among players who are still on the team) and has a usage rate that is higher than Lauri Markkanen’s.
Blakeney is immature with his shot selection, but he’s shown flashes of his pure scoring ability at the NBA level (16 points in 26 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 15; 16 points in 25 minutes against the Knicks on Monday). Perhaps the stability of the Bulls signing him to a full NBA contract (if they end up doing this) would incentivize Blakeney to improve his shot selection. In this scenario, he would no longer need to feel like he must show out in the scoring department every second he played or else face a demotion
Hopefully Wednesday wasn’t the last time we see Blakeney in Bulls red and black.