The Chicago Bulls entered Wednesday night as the East’s top seed by 2.5 games over the Brooklyn Nets ahead of a showdown between the two best teams in the East on national TV. After a highly entertaining first half, the Nets eventually ran away with a dominant win in what felt like a statement win from Brooklyn in one of their first games as a complete roster with Kyrie Irving against one of the league’s top teams.
On the Chicago side, it was a disappointing result, particularly with the avalanche of points Brooklyn scored in the second half, but the bigger concern for the Bulls was their health. Already without their best perimeter defender in Alex Caruso as well as Javonte Green due to injuries, Chicago saw Derrick Jones Jr. (starting in place of Green) leave the game with a knee injury just a minute into the game after he came down awkwardly and had his right knee bend backwards.
Jones Jr. was helped to the locker room and did not return, and on Thursday the results of further testing revealed a bone bruise that will keep him out for a month-plus, per Shams Charania.
Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. has suffered a bone bruise in his right knee and is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Jones avoided structural damage to the knee after going down in the opening seconds of Wednesday night’s game vs. Nets.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2022
The good news is that, for as ugly as the injury looked on replay, he avoided any structural damage, but his absence is significant for a Bulls team short on wing depth with Patrick Williams already sidelined for the year due to a wrist injury. For a team with sudden championship dreams, it will be interesting to see how they approach the trade deadline, as there’s a clear need to bolster their depth at the four spot, but whether they want to part with any significant assets to upgrade that position considerably rather than just adding another bench rotation guy remains to be seen.
UPDATE: The Bulls official announcement on Jones’ injury provides a 2-4 week timetable for his return, which is a significant improvement over what Charania reported earlier in the day at 4-6 weeks.