The second-year power forward had surgery on his left wrist last week, and has already been around his teammates watching film and at shootarounds. And while the organization thinks it’s important for him to stay attached for his own spirit, there’s other conditions to weigh.
Patrick Williams had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist last week.
The second-year power forward was already staying busy, showing up at the Advocate Center to watch film with the team on Friday, and on the sidelines during the Saturday morning shootaround, according to Bulls coach Billy Donovan.
Physically, he’ll be on the mend for months before the Bulls know if it’s season-ending or if he’ll have a chance to play again late in the regular season or into the postseason. Until then, however, the organization will be walking a fine line on how to handle his healing mentally.
“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 of Williams. “Where it will get difficult is when we start to pass by. 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 they will have to make in keeping Williams engaged comes later this week, when the Bulls are off for a four-city west coast trip. Of course they want Williams staying 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.”
A discussion that hasn’t happened yet?
One that involved executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas getting into panic mode and feeling like he needs to start 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 between coach and VP have focused on the players they have in-house.
“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.”
Nikola Vucevic was well aware that his chances down in the low post have gone down this season, as 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 with this roster.
The way the All-Star center sees it, it’s still sets that play to his strengths, especially against opposing centers that 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 he wants me to flash to the ball and get actions out of that,” Vucevic said. “It’s pretty similar … something I’ve done for years to try and be more of a facilitator.”