As the Bulls season ticked away in Game 6 of their fatal opening round series against the Sixers there were many questions abound. Why did Omer Asik wait until the final seconds to give and foul Andre Iguodala when he’d been doing fine the rest of the game. Why did C.J. Watson pass to Omer Asik instead of holding the ball and either taking a shot himself or taking the foul and heading to line himself.
But one question that got buried in the last second meltdown by the Bulls was where was Kyle Korver in Game 6?
It turns out that Korver had suffered a foot injury so severe that he had to wear a walking boot per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Korver suffered the injury in Game 5 but it wasn’t publicized either because he wasn’t a media darling like Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah or because at that point injuries seemed like the norm for the Bulls.
Korver provided the Bulls with a viable three point option pretty regularly when he was on the court during the season and had he been out there for Game 6, the Bulls very well could have forced a Game 7 if his offense was available. The Bulls struggled in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Sixers and eventually crumbled with failed offense possessions due to poor shooting.
There is no guarantee that Korver’s presence un Game 6 would have meant a Game 7 would have happened but why Korver wasn’t out there has been a nagging question on Bulls fans minds since the ugly first round exit.
However Korver’s injury extends beyond Game 6 in terms of its impact. The Bulls have some tough contract decisions ahead of them and Korver is on the chopping block. Should he be cut before the July 10th deadline, the Bulls would free up $5 million to either use to bait a veteran free agent guard or to re-sign Omer Asik.
The Bulls are heading into this offseason with three of their guaranteed stars banged up and two of them very likely to miss a large chunks of the regular season ahead. Derrick Rose is obviously going to miss almost all of the 2013 season and Luol Deng, who is under contract until 2014, will have wrist surgery after he represents Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics. Joakim Noah is also banged up and will be representing his native France in the Olympics but he’s expected to be ready for the 2013 tip.
But Korver’s injury has an out for the Bulls as his contract, along with the injured C.J. Watson and seldom used Ronnie Brewer, is not guaranteed.
While we still have the lingering question of what the Bulls will do with Korver this offseason, we at least have an answer to another question regarding his absence in Game 6. It’s an answer though that could very well foreshadow his presence on this team in 2013.