Bulls’ injuries keep piling up, with Derrick Jones Jr. the latest player to get hurt

The versatile forward, who fractured his right index finger Tuesday, joins Alex Caruso (wrist) and Lonzo Ball (knee) on the shelf for six to eight weeks. The Bulls’ depth will continue to be tested.

SHARE Bulls’ injuries keep piling up, with Derrick Jones Jr. the latest player to get hurt
Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. fractured his right index finger in a workout and could miss six to eight weeks.

Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. fractured his right index finger in a workout and could miss six to eight weeks.

Matt Marton/AP

The Bulls have lived by a next-man-up mentality through most of this regular season, and they’ve been living well.

If they want to stay in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, however, that’s going to have to continue.

With the news Tuesday that forward Derrick Jones Jr. fractured his right index finger in a workout and likely will miss six to eight weeks, the Bulls have three players out and scheduled for a return in that timeframe.

Jones joined guard Alex Caruso, who had surgery Monday to repair a fractured right wrist, and guard Lonzo Ball, who is scheduled to have surgery Friday on his left knee. All three had a six- to eight-week window put on their return — or at least a re-evaluation.

Jones’ injury was the latest gut punch, especially because he was almost done with the rehab for a bone bruise in his knee that had sidelined him since Jan. 12.

‘‘Yeah, it was really just an unfortunate thing,’’ coach Billy Donovan said Wednesday. ‘‘[Jones] was really progressing well with his knee. Just kind of a fluke thing. There was no contact or [anything]. We were kind of doing some 5-on-0 script and catching, and the ball came to him and caught him wrong. It’s just kind of what happened.

‘‘He’s got to keep [the finger] splinted. There’s no surgery or anything else like that right now. . . . The healing process is going to be obviously quite some time, but there could be a possibility in a week or two that he can be re-evaluated [about] whether or not he could play with a splint, but I don’t know how hard that would be for him. But for him to get through this and be healed, it’s going to be a pretty long recovery.’’

The other major injury to keep an eye on is that of forward Patrick Williams, who had surgery on his left wrist in early November and was ruled out for the rest of the regular season.

A source, however, said there was growing momentum that Williams might be back sooner and even might get some regular-season games under his belt before the postseason begins.

The Bulls should know by mid-February if the timetables for their injured players will fall in their favor.

Unfortunately, that won’t help them in time for the trade deadline Feb. 10. Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been very aggressive since the trade deadline last season, but with two key backcourt players injured, potential trade assets the Bulls thought they might have now are needed pieces.

Minute man

Forward Javonte Green started his second consecutive game since returning from a groin injury but will remain on a strict limit of 23 to 25 minutes for now. Donovan said that it’s more about protecting Green from himself.

‘‘He only has one gear,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘He just plays all-out. He probably couldn’t play more than four or five minutes at a time because when he goes out there, he gets his energy into the game.

‘‘There were times this year where we would play him maybe seven to nine straight minutes, and that’s probably as much as he could go as hard as he plays. You can definitely feel his presence, his energy, his athleticism when he’s on the floor.

‘‘He’s got to get his legs back under him, and it will take some time to build that up.’’

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