Patrick Williams to undergo season-ending foot surgery as Chicago Bulls’ injury concerns deepen

Patrick Williams will undergo season-ending surgery to treat a bone edema in his left foot after missing the last 10 games with the injury, the Chicago Bulls announced Friday evening.

Williams initially was diagnosed with the injury Jan. 31 after playing through discomfort in his left foot and right ankle throughout the season. He wore a walking boot and received initial testing in California while the Bulls were on a trip at the end of January, then was shut down for two weeks when he returned to Chicago. During that time, Williams did not undergo any impact training with his workouts limited to the stationary bike in addition to seated exercises and shooting.

Coach Billy Donovan said Williams attempted to ramp back up to basketball activities this week but continued to experience discomfort in low-impact drills and did not return to running.

“Everything that they do is going to be based on his pain and how much he can tolerate,” Donovan said after practice Tuesday. “So quite honestly, there’s been certain things that he’s felt it. He’s much better than he was. When it first happened, he was feeling it walking. He’s beyond that right now. But they’re going to be very, very careful in terms of how much they continue to push through.”

In a release Friday, the Bulls said another scan revealed “the progression of his foot stress reaction,” which necessitated the surgery.

The Bulls do not have a traditional power forward available with Torrey Craig sidelined for two to four weeks with a sprained right knee. And they do not have the option to add a player off the buyout market after reportedly converting small forward Onuralp Bitim from a two-way contract to a full-time NBA contract on Friday. Bitim has played only six NBA minutes with the Bulls this season, although he has thrived for the Windy City Bulls in the G League.

While the Bulls await Craig’s return, they likely will continue to use a mix of Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu and Julian Phillips to plug the holes left in the starting lineup by those two injuries.

Williams played all 82 games last season but he has struggled with injuries throughout his four years in the NBA. He played only 17 games in his second season because of a wrist injury.

Williams averaged 10 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists this season. He will become a restricted free agent this summer, leaving the Bulls with an important decision to make as they determine whether they should continue building with the 2020 No. 4 draft pick.