Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan knows his team has dealt with a number of injuries, and the seventh-year NBA coach believes his roster is one of the best in the league when healthy.
“After sitting down and talking to the front office, the hardest thing is we’ve never seen our team last that long,” Donovan told Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett.
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“I think the feeling was, you know what, hopefully we can stay healthy and see what this team is like,” the Bulls coach said.
“Last year, in the seventh or eighth game, Patrick Williams broke his wrist and then it snowballed.”
Williams missed 65 games last season with a wrist injury. In 17 games, the forwards averaged 9 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 52.9% from the field and 51.7% from long range.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan continues to work around injuries, hoping to field a healthy roster soon
Also, Lonzo Ball hasn’t played since Jan. 14, when the Bulls lost 138-96 to the Golden State Warriors. Last season, in 35 starts, the guard averaged 13 points, 5.4 boards, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals.
“But I think the feeling is let’s see what this looks like, you know?” Donovan continued. “So hopefully at some point we’ll be able to fully get to know what that looks like, but we’re not there yet.
When I look at it, I think a lot of teams have had to deal with the same thing we’ve had to deal with – maybe not at the level we’re at. I think we’ve had more missed games than any other team.
Of course, Kobe White missed Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. In addition to Williams’ injury, Bulls players missed time last season due to Covid-19.
Billy Donovan says everything is “very, very bright” right now when it comes to Lonzo Ball. He started running in the water. There is no return period.
— Casey Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 4, 2022
Per Casey Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Donovan is optimistic about Ball’s knee recovery, but a timetable for his return is unknown.
“It’s tough, but you know what it is, you try to focus on what you can control and what impact you can have,” Donovan added.
In the NBA, overcoming adversity is a must for coaches. As of the 2020-21 season, Donovan’s record as Bulls coach is 83-84 (.497) in the regular season and 1-4 (.250) in the postseason.
“Some of those players weren’t coming back last year, and of course we’re dealing with some of them now that Lonzo is out,” the Bulls coach said.
“We’ve been without good players, and you want them on your roster and you want to be able to use them. In their absence, we must give ourselves the best chance to compete and win.