The Chicago Bulls listed Alex Caruso and Javonte Green as questionable for Friday's road game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Caruso left Wednesday's stirring home victory over the Brooklyn Nets in the first quarter with a sprained right ankle. Green has been battling right knee soreness for weeks.
The Bulls are actually 3-2 in games that Caruso has missed outright and 4-2 if the victory over the Nets, which Caruso largely missed, is counted. But that's not a sustainable trend given Caruso's impact at the defensive end and prominent placing in most closing lineups.
Caruso, who had recently missed three games with a concussion and shoulder sprain, rolled his ankle when he stepped on Ben Simmons' foot while running upcourt. He grimaced his way through a few possessions before checking out and heading straight to the locker room. Shortly thereafter, the team's public and media relations staff released the update that he wouldn't return.
Green, too, is an important defensive cog who has improved as a 3-point shooter, particularly from the corner. He can be relied upon consistently to provide energy.
In Green's absence, Derrick Jones Jr. provided solid reserve minutes against the Nets. He finished with eight points on 3-for-3 shooting with two rebounds, a steal and a block in 13 minutes.
Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White picked up extra minutes in Caruso's absence. Both also played well. But there's no denying Caruso's importance for a team embarking on a busy and difficult schedule stretch. The Bulls finish a back-to-back set of games at home on Saturday against Lauri Markkanen and the Utah Jazz. They then travel to Boston and Washington next week for games against the high-flying Celtics and Wizards, with whom they're currently jostling for play-in seeding.
Caruso leads the NBA by a wide margin in deflections per 36 minutes at 5.7. In second place? Green at 4.9. So, yes, the Bulls need them back sooner rather than later.
Download MyTeams Today!