DENVER – Michael Carter-Williams is looking to make life difficult on his coach sooner than later.
The fourth-year guard suffered a bone bruise on his left knee and sprained his left wrist back on Halloween night in Brooklyn, and the prognosis was a four-to-six week recovery time.
According to Carter-Williams, it’s looking more like, “that four or maybe four-and-a-half week’’ period, as the 25-year-old said on Tuesday that he’s looking to return next week as long as there are no setbacks.
“I’m definitely ahead of schedule,’’ Carter-Williams said. “My knee feels great. I just got to find the measure between how hard I can go without hurting it furthermore, so I’m just testing the limit right now. Just trying to get back to 100 percent.’’
And when he does coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff will have a tough decision to make with the backcourt rotation.
Jerian Grant has jumped into the picture with his recent play, as did rookie Denzel Valentine. There’s also the outside shooting element of Isaiah Canaan, and what he brings off the bench. With Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade each seeing backcourt time, it could suddenly get very crowded back there.
“I’ve done lateral movements,’’ Carter-Williams said. “I’ve done pretty much everything. Just trying to maintain the recovery and keeping the swelling down. I’m going to wait pretty much until I’m pain-free to play.
“But I would say I’m closer to the four [week period]. I feel good. My wrist is still a little bit swollen, but it feels pretty good. It’s almost back to normal.’’
The other injury
The news wasn’t quite as positive for Doug McDermott 9concussion protocol), as Hoiberg announced that the third-year forward would now miss the remainder of the “Circus Trip,’’ still recovering from slamming his head on the court in a Nov. 12 win over the Wizards.
It was the second concussion McDermott suffered this season, and the recovery has been a slower one this time around.
“I communicated with him [Monday], and he’s starting to make progress,’’ Hoiberg said. “There’s no doubt about that, but he’s still a ways away.
“He’s in good spirits. He’s excited about the way the team’s playing. Obviously he’ll be welcomed when he’s ready to come back, but we’ve got to make sure he passes all the necessary steps. The important thing is he is making progress. But no, as far as being down, he’s not. Again, he’s feeling a lot better than he was, and that’s the important thing right now.’’
The Bulls have four off days after the Circus Trip comes to an end Friday in Philadelphia, so all eyes will be how McDermott reacts over that practice time.
More Wade praise
Butler isn’t short on confidence, but he’s also not short on praise.
Asked if he takes the court feeling like he’s the best player on the floor on a nightly basis, Butler didn’t deny it.
“I think that’s the way I have to think,’’ Butler said. “If I don’t then I look at it as just being another player that’s out there.
“But at the same time even [when D-Wade isn’t on the floor with me] he’s still helping me through this process and letting me know what I should be doing, late in the game, early in the game. It’s great to have him in my corner.’’