CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Bulls power forward Patrick Williams will be out for the next 4 to 6 months, meaning he could potentially miss the rest of the regular season, after suffering a wrist injury in Thursday night's loss to the Knicks.
Drafted at No. 4 by the Bulls in 2020, Williams was knocked to the floor by a flagrant foul during a dunk attempt against the Knicks.
The Bulls announced Friday afternoon he will undergo surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist, and is expected to miss 4-6 months. That would mean the earliest he could return is late February, but could potentially be out for the rest of the regular season.
A return in 6 months would allow him to come back for the playoffs should the Bulls get back to the postseason for the second year in a row.
Williams laid on the ground for a bit before he was able to get up and leave the floor after Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson fouled him on a dunk attempt in the 3rd quarter. He immediately went back to the locker room and was ruled out for the remainder of the game shortly after. When asked about the Flagrant 1 foul call on Robinson that resulted in Williams' injury, Donovan said he didn't think Robinson had any intention of harm on the play.
After Friday morning's practice, Nikola Vucevic, who starts alongside Williams in the frontcourt for the Bulls, said losing Williams "would be a huge blow, obviously."
"We already didn't' have many players at that position, so now with him out, it's obviously going to be a little more difficult," Vucevic said. "His size, just his versatility defensively, to be able to cover so many positions; and offensively, too, with his size, his ability to cut, drive. It just takes away a lot."
The former Florida State product has started in every game he's played for the Bulls since entering the league last season, and he's begun to develop into an integral piece on the defensive side of the ball. Against the Knicks, Williams was tasked with guarding All-Star forward Julius Randle, and he did an admirable job, holding Randle to just two points in the first half on 1-of-4 shooting from the field. When Williams went down in the third quarter, it forced the Bulls to go small down the stretch, sticking guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso on the 6-8 forward with less than ideal results.
Randle was able to get to the foul line more in the second half, as Caruso and Ball were trying to compensate for the mismatch. Going forward, this could prove to be a significant problem for a Chicago team that was already lacking in size prior to the injury to Williams.
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