Thumb Surgery Recommended For Bulls' Carter

Wendell Carter Jr. is expected to be out eight to 12 weeks.

Cody Westerlund
January 18, 2019 - 3:43 pm
Bulls forward Wendell Carter Jr., center, reacts on the bench.

Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports


(670 The Score) Less than two weeks after getting as healthy as they could, the Bulls have suffered yet another devastating injury hit.

Left thumb surgery has been recommended for rookie center Wendell Carter Jr., who suffered the injury while bracing himself in a fall in a loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday evening. Assuming the 19-year-old Carter moves forward with the procedure, the anticipated recovery time for him is eight to 12 weeks, which could mean he misses the remainder of the season. A 12-week timeline would take him past the team's regular-season finale on April 10.

In the immediate aftermath of Carter's injury that was suffered on a long road trip, the Bulls feared it could be serious before the initial diagnosis came back as an acute on chronic thumb sprain, the team said. Follow-ups upon a return to Chicago revealed the injury was more severe. Physical examinations and testing under live luoroscopic XR found that Carter has instability in his ligament. He was examined by Bulls hand specialists Dr. John Fernandez and Dr. Mark Cohen on Friday.

Carter has averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 48.5 percent in 25.2 minutes across 44 games.

Carter's setback is only the latest in a long string of injuries the Bulls have suffered this season. It started even before training camp, as Denzel Valentine had ankle pain entering camp. He didn't play a game and is out for the season after left ankle reconstruction surgery. Go-to big man Lauri Markkanen then suffered a severe right elbow sprain on the third day of camp, sidelining him for the first 23 games of the season.

An MCL sprain also caused point guard Kris Dunn to miss 24 games, while key reserve big man Bobby Portis has played in just 14 of the team's 45 games due to knee, ankle and elbow injuries.

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.