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Coby White hopes to return Thursday after missing 3 games with a hip strain: ‘I dodged a bullet,’ Chicago Bulls guard says

Chicago Bulls guard Coby White hopes to return Thursday against the Rockets in Houston after missing the last three games with a right hip strain.

The guard said he felt “good” after fully participating in practice Wednesday. Coach Billy Donovan said the medical team has been optimistic about White’s recovery from the injury, which occurred in the final 10 seconds of regulation of the Bulls’ March 13 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers.

White’s availability will be contingent on how he responds to the increased activity. But after appearing to suffer a much more serious injury, the guard is on track to return after missing a week.

“I dodged a bullet,” White said. “It could’ve been a lot worse. They said I’m pretty flexible and that’s what helped me in that scenario. I think God was with me at that point and I’m just glad it was nothing serious, nothing more than a strain.”

White knows the injury looked bad in the moment. Pascal Siakam — a 6-foot-8 Pacers forward — chased him down from behind for a brutal block, crashing down on top of White as both players tumbled to the court.

It was an awkward fall, and White was in visible pain after his right leg was twisted outward under his body. But he never heard a pop or felt anything that seemed to signal a more serious injury.

“I don’t think it’s that bad to where everybody was making it seem,” White said. “It was just an awkward landing.”

Whenever it occurs, the Bulls will be bolstered by the return of White, who is a Most Improved Player front-runner after taking over as point guard. White trails only DeMar DeRozan in the NBA in total minutes played this season. But he didn’t view the injury as a result of his heavy workload.

While confined to the sideline, White took on a new role: the president of the Ayo Dosunmu fan club.

Technically, he always had operated that way. But White was out in full force to support Dosunmu as the guard stepped up throughout White’s injury absence, wearing a shirt emblazoned with pictures of Dosunmu to Saturday’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Dosunmu responded well to the added responsibility, recording a career-high 34 points against the Wizards and following with a 23-point night in a narrow win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“It’s not a surprise to me,” White said. “He works hard at his game every day, he wants to be really good. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

The Bulls will need White and Dosunmu at this level to complete their return to .500 with a win against the Rockets on Thursday. After a 5-14 start, the Bulls have failed to reach the milestone since they were 2-2.

If White returns Thursday, the Bulls (34-35) could move back to a level record. But White didn’t want to think ahead that far.

“I don’t want to jinx it so I’m not going to comment at all,” said White, laughing.

Patrick Williams enters recovery

Donovan also confirmed that Williams underwent successful surgery this month to address a bone edema in his left foot. The surgery took place in New York, and the forward is recovering away from the team. Williams will return to Chicago in early April for the next step of his rehabilitation plan.