Like most of his teammates, Chandler Hutchison can’t catch a break.
The 2018 first-round pick, who missed 17 games with a right shoulder injury earlier this season, was out again Thursday night against the Charlotte Hornets with an aggravation of that injury.
Coach Jim Boylen said Hutchison suffered the latest injury against the Wizards on Feb. 11 — the last game before the All-Star break.
“The shoulder took a hit and he’s sore and he’s hurt,” Boylen said. “He’s been off for eight days and didn’t have much improvement in his soreness and stiffness. To say he’s day-to-day is probably a stretch. I think it’s more than that.”
The 6-7, 210-pound Hutchison is averaging 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds this season. But he has played in just 28 of the Bulls’ 56 games.
“His heart’s broken again,” Boylen said. “But he’s fighting through it.”
Hutchison’s absence was the latest in an injury riddled season that has short-circuited the Bulls’ attempt to make the playoffs this season. Lauri Markkanen (right pelvis), Otto Porter (foot), Kris Dunn (knee), Wendell Carter (knee) and Denzel Valentine (hamstring) also missed the game.
The Dunn factor
The Bulls’ defense has suffered without Carter, but has regressed noticeably since Dunn suffered a knee injury early in a 133-118 loss to the Nets on Jan. 31. Without Dunn and Carter, the Bulls have allowed an average of 126.7 points per game, with all five opponents scoring above their season average.
“Our guys got to step into those positions and continue to play the defense we want to play,” Boylen said. “It’s very important to me that we establish a defensive identity this year and have a defensive system we can build on.
As much as a defense is system-oriented, you’ve got to have some talent and guys that buy into it. I thought out defense [at full strength] fit our talent and was very effective. So I’m not going to reinvent the wheel after 55 games and do a new defense. We’re going to make our guys that are playing [play] better in it.”