NEW YORK — The Bulls have played 146 regular-season games since making Chandler Hutchison their second selection in the first round (No. 22 overall) of the 2018 draft.
Hutchison, a forward out of Boise State, has participated in 72 of those games.
A broken foot as a rookie, an uncooperative hamstring to start training camp this season and now an injured right shoulder have kept him on the shelf. And it’s sounding more and more like he’ll be joining Kris Dunn (right MCL) and Luke Kornet (foot fracture) as season-ending shutdowns, but Hutchison refuses to buy into the idea that he’s injury-prone.
“I get it, I understand how that could come up,’’ Hutchison said. “For me, I don’t worry too much about it. Part of being at this level is understanding what people are going to think and you not giving too much energy to it.
‘‘I mean, also it’s understanding that the two injuries that have caused me to miss a bunch of games — the broken foot, that happens with less than 20 seconds left in a game. Then the next one [the shoulder], I get caught by a screen. It’s just been some freak deals. I’m hoping I’m just getting the brunt of it now.’’
He’s not alone in that hoping department.
The Bulls’ holes are glaring. They sorely lack a proven point guard to run the offense and get guys into their spots and are also severely undermanned when it comes to athletic forwards, possibly the most important position on the floor most nights.
Hutchison was at least a body who — on paper — could give them minutes at that wing spot, with the hope of developing into a defensive-minded stopper someday. But the most important ability to have in the NBA these days is availability, and Hutchison has fallen short in that department.
The hope was Hutchison was on a path back after having his third cortisone shot a few weeks ago, but the reality of the situation is that there are few days left on the calendar.
That’s why coach Jim Boylen hinted that Hutchison soon could officially be shut down for the rest of the season.
“I think that’s a possibility,’’ Boylen said. “We hope not. That’s always a possibility, if I were to be truthful with you, which I try to be.’’
A day closer
Zach LaVine (quadriceps) missed his fourth consecutive game Sunday but was expected to practice Monday, then be re-evaluated Tuesday.
The Bulls have had to make up LaVine’s 25.5 points per game. They’ve gone 1-3 without him.