The Chicago Bulls will be without perhaps their best defensive player for the next few weeks, with the expectation being that he won’t be ready for the start of the 2021-22 regular season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, second-year forward Patrick Williams suffered a “severe” sprain of his left ankle, with the initial timeline for his absence being up to six weeks.
Bulls second-year forward Patrick Williams suffered a severe left ankle sprain and is anticipated to return in 4-to-6 weeks.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 24, 2021
The news — both of Williams’ injury and the timetable for his return — was eventually confirmed by the Bulls.
Coby White (shoulder) has made steady progress over the past 4 months, is anticipated to make a full return in Nov.
Patrick Williams sustained a severe left ankle sprain during an optional individual workout, is anticipated to make a full return in 4-to-6 weeks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 24, 2021
The team will play its first regular season game on Oct. 20 against the Detroit Pistons, which is just under four weeks away from the day Williams suffered the injury. Should he need the full six weeks to recover, he’d miss the first eight games of the Bulls’ season, with his return coming on Nov. 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Chicago spent this offseason fortifying its backcourt alongside Zach LaVine and trade deadline acquisition Nikola Vucevic, but there was a hole on the defensive end of the floor that was expected to be filled by Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. A second-team All-Rookie selection last season, Williams averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game while connecting on 27.9 percent of his threes. He was the only rookie to play in more than 70 games last season, as Williams started all 71 contests in which he appeared.