UPDATE: The Bulls announced Tuesday that “Dunn will be reexamined following an initial two-week phase of immobilization and physical therapy. The definitive treatment and timetable will be determined over that time frame as symptoms improve.”
The Chicago Bulls’ terrible, horrible, no good injury luck continues with news that point guard Kris Dunn suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee. There is no timetable for his return right now.
The injury happened on the first possession of the Bulls’ loss against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Dunn collided with teammate Thaddeus Young:
Dunn missed 23 games with an MCL sprain last season.
Dunn’s injury is the latest in a slew of them for the Bulls this season. Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford, Lauri Markkanen and now Dunn have missed time because of injuries.
Obviously, the biggest loss with Dunn out is what he brings defensively. He’s an All-NBA-caliber talent on that end of the floor, and his ability to disrupt the flow of the opponent’s offense with his activity can’t be reciprocated by any of his teammates that replace him in the interim.
Tomas Satoransky and Ryan Arcidiacono aren’t particularly good defenders. Shaquille Harrison and Hutchison will likely draw the assignments that would have gone to Dunn. Both guys are pretty good defenders, which at least bodes well for the Bulls. Opponents have been about five points per 100 possessions better offensively when Dunn sits than when he plays, so it’s a big hole for these guys to fill.
Dunn is averaging 2.9 steals per 36 minutes, which leads the NBA. If he can tick up that per-36 average up a notch to three steals for the entirety of the season, he’d be just the third player since 2000 to do this (Metta World Peace and Tony Allen were the others; minimum 820 minutes played for a season to qualify). He is also on track to become one of the best pickpockets in Chicago Bulls history:
With his league-leading 100th steal, Kris Dunn has just joined Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen as the only players in franchise history to record 100 steals in the first 50 games of a season pic.twitter.com/raNxU4aXXl— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 28, 2020
In his final season before becoming a restricted free agent, Dunn is having his best year as a pro and making a case for being part of the core moving forward. His shooting continues to be awful, but he has been finishing at the rim much better this season. If Dunn is hitting shots from close range and not turning the ball over or making other mistakes, his defensive prowess somewhat makes up for his shortcomings offensively.
The Bulls’ injury luck has truly taken a turn for the worse over the last month after they were relatively lucky to start the season, at least outside of the Porter injury. Unfortunately, these injuries could be yet another crutch for the front office to lean on, even though the Bulls weren’t good to start the season when they were healthy.