Bulls’ Patrick Williams wants to be called for traveling after surgery
The second-year power forward had surgery on his left wrist last week and already has rejoined teammates during film study and shootarounds. And while the organization thinks it’s important for him to stay attached for his own spirit, there are other conditions to weigh.
Patrick Williams had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist last week, but the second-year power forward already was staying busy.
He showed up at the Advocate Center to watch film with the team Friday and was on the sidelines during the morning shootaround Saturday, coach Billy Donovan said.
Williams will be on the mend for months before the Bulls know if it’s a season-ending injury or if he’ll have a chance to play again late in the regular season or in the postseason. Until then, however, the organization will be walking a fine line on how to handle his healing from a mental standpoint.
“The injury is so recent, there’s certainly an outpouring of support that he feels, so he’s probably not thinking about it as much,’’ Donovan said. “Once everyone has sent their condolences and asked how he’s doing, I think that’s when it gets important from the staff standpoint where we keep him engaged.’’
The first decision the staff will have to make comes later this week.
The Bulls will be taking off on a four-city West Coast trip, and they want Williams to remain upbeat by being around his teammates, but they also have his healing and health to weigh.
“We’ll have to figure out when we go out west what that looks like,’’ Donovan said. “You’d like him around the team, but he’s going to have some difficulties sleeping, just because he has to pretty much keep that hand in a position where he really does no movement until he gets the cast off.
“That’s what the medical staff will talk about. We’ll have discussions on what is in his best interest there. It’s such a detailed surgery he went through, you don’t want to get into anything that disrupts what’s been done. They may recommend against the travel.’’
One discussion that hasn’t taken place yet involves executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas eyeing targets outside the organization to help with the frontcourt depth in Williams’ absence. Donovan said that with the season so young, the daily conversations have focused on the players they have.
“We haven’t talked about any of that stuff,’’ Donovan said. “Eight games in, these guys need time to play with each other. I think we’re both excited about the team. We haven’t talked about anything, ‘Hey, going forward, let’s add this.’ None of that. It’s been more about our team and where we can get better.’’
Center Nikola Vucevic was well aware that his chances in the low post have gone down. Donovan and the coaching staff would rather see him operating at the top of the arc as a facilitator or out of pick-and-roll.
The way Vucevic sees it, it still plays to his strengths, especially against opposing centers who would rather stay in the paint on the defensive end than have to come out and guard him in the screen game.
“Billy does want the ball to go through me a lot on the high post and play through that, especially if we don’t get much out of our initial action,’’ Vucevic said. ‘‘[Donovan] wants me to flash to the ball and get actions out of that. It’s pretty similar . . . to something I’ve done for years to try to be more of a facilitator.’’