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Report: Patrick Williams out 4-6 weeks with severe ankle sprain

The second-year forward will miss the start of the 2021-22 season for the Chicago Bulls.

Patrick Williams of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during a preseason game on December 16, 2020 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Chicago Bulls second-year PF Patrick Williams is expected to miss 4-6 weeks due to a severe ankle sprain, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday afternoon. The report doesn’t mention how or when Williams suffered the injury. The start of the 2021-22 NBA regular season is set for Oct. 19, so it appears best-case scenario is Williams is able to return the second or third week of the season.

The Bulls open the preseason on Oct. 5 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing four preseason games before the season opener on Wednesday, Oct. 20 against the Detroit Pistons. If Williams is sidelined one month, we could see him return as early as Oct. 25 against the Toronto Raptors. That wouldn’t be all that bad, but we can anticipate Chicago won’t rush back their top prospect and the former No. 4 overall pick in 2020.

Fantasy basketball impact of Patrick Williams injury

This shouldn’t have a lasting impact on where you draft Williams. The worst case is he misses 8-10 games tops. He likely isn’t a highly-sought after fantasy basketball asset in season-long re-draft leagues. It does impact him a bit in keeper and dynasty functions. If anything, if Williams drops in keeper and dynasty formats, you can get him in a decent draft slot.

Williams wasn’t even on ESPN’s top 200 rankings for H2H fantasy basketball leagues. Chances are he wasn’t going to go drafted in most 10- and 12-team formats. In deeper leagues, he may have been on your bench. So again, more of an impact in keeper/dynasty formats. Still, it’s an ankle sprain, not something too long-term. It’d be a different story if there were torn ligaments in the ankle.

The Bulls have a few options at PF to fill the void early in the season. The two most likely candidates to start are Derrick Jones Jr. and Stanley Johnson. Each have experience starting, but are a bit undersized for the 4. Chicago may just have to play small ball in the meantime. The other route is going big with Tony Bradley at the 4 and Nikola Vucevic at center — or vice versa.

There’s also a scenario in which the Bulls go small and start Troy Brown Jr. and DeMar DeRozan in the front court with Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine and Vuce. That lineup would have issues with size but could also be fun running up and down the court. We also could see more playing time for Alize Johnson, who was brought in from the Brooklyn Nets. Johnson has some potential and adds more size at the 4.