Rui Hachimura returning early for Wizards, will play limited minutes vs. Bulls

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Chase Hughes
·2 min read
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Rui returning early for Wizards, will play limited minutes vs. Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The 0-4 Washington Wizards are set to get one of their top scorers back, as second-year forward Rui Hachimura will make his 2020-21 season debut on Thursday night against the Bulls after a week's-long recovery from conjunctivitis.

Hachimura playing this soon means he is ahead of schedule, as the original timeline released by the team said three weeks. That announcement was made on Dec. 21, yet just 10 days later he is ready to go.

Head coach Scott Brooks said Hachimura has increased his workload in recent days, from individual drills up to scrimmages. He is only expected to play about 20 minutes against the Bulls as they ease him back into the rotation.

"That’s great news, that’s a good boost that we need," Brooks said. "He gives us stability, just a calming effect and a confidence."

Hachimura, 22, was named second-team All-Rookie last season, the first Wizards player to get All-Rookie honors since Bradley Beal in 2013. Hachimura averaged 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in his first season in Washington.

"[Now] we get to see all the improvements that he has made," Brooks said.

What this does to the Wizards' lineup and rotations remains to be seen. Hachimura started all 48 of his games last year and even started after returning from an extended injury absence. 

It seems likely he will start right away and that could mean one of the team's young forwards will have to take a seat. Perhaps Isaac Bonga will be that guy, as rookie Deni Avdija has performed well so far in his nascent NBA career.

Hachimura has dealt with eye irritation and blurry vision due to his conjunctivitis. Brooks described it as a "severe case" of pink eye. But now he is all healed, and the Wizards are thrilled to have him, needing all the help they can get after a disappointing start to the season.

"I’m so happy that Rui’s coming back," Thomas Bryant said. "We’re getting a really good four back on our squad that plays great on both sides. That really can help us out."

Tune in at 4 PM to NBC Sports Washington on Thursday for complete coverage of the Wizards' next game against the Chicago Bulls.

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