UPDATE: Jan. 10, 1:05 p.m. — Daniel Gafford will get a chance in the starting lineup Friday vs. the Indiana Pacers, coach Jim Boylen confirmed this afternoon.
Jim Boylen said it’s gut wrenching for Carter and difficult for Bulls because he’s anchor of defense.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 10, 2020
Gafford starts vs. Pacers.
The Bulls had started Thaddeus Young in the frontcourt on Wednesday vs. the Pelicans, but things didn’t work out so well. Gafford is more of a natural fit next to Lauri Markkanen in the frontcourt, so perhaps that will serve the Bulls better. But ultimately it’s not easy replacing a player like WCJ, who was the anchor on defense. Still, Gafford is an intriguing value at $5,100 on tonight’s DraftKings slate. His price is up but if he can get more minutes in the starting lineup, he could return some value.
UPDATE: Jan. 9, 10:19 p.m. — Wendell Carter Jr. is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a severe right ankle sprain.
Bulls say Carter will miss 4-6 weeks with severe right ankle sprain.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 10, 2020
Otto Porter Jr. was re-evaluated and will continue non-basketball activities as his bone injury in left foot heals.
UPDATE: Jan. 7, 8:54 p.m. — Wendell Carter Jr. is being listed as out for Wednesday’s game vs. the New Orleans Pelicans. Lauri Markkanen is probable.
Bulls list Wendell Carter Jr. as out vs. Pelicans with sprained right ankle. Daniel Gafford is probable.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 8, 2020
UPDATE: Carter suffered a right ankle sprain and X-rays came back negative, but he won’t return to Monday’s game.
UPDATE: Wendell Carter Jr. sustained a right ankle sprain. X-rays were negative. He will not return tonight. pic.twitter.com/Sxay3rOknf— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 7, 2020
Wendell Carter had to be carried off the court and took a wheelchair to the locker room after badly rolling ankle pic.twitter.com/zbnCQikP1Z— gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 7, 2020
Carter badly rolled his ankle on that play as you can see. He couldn’t put any weight on the injury, which is not a good sign for the Bulls. Carter had been in the midst of a breakout season for Chicago, averaging 11.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. He had six points and six rebounds prior to leaving the game.
With Carter out, the Bulls should use more Lauri Markkanen and Thaddeus Young frontcourts, with rookie Daniel Gafford also getting some additional minutes. If WCJ is going to miss any extended time, I’d say Young is a safe bet to get into the lineup, though the Bulls could opt to start Gafford given his athleticism and size.