Alex Caruso’s wrist injury might be lingering issue for Bulls

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bulls’ loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday exposed many glaring issues, including the true status of Alex Caruso’s wrist.

The Chicago Bulls lost to the Utah Jazz 125-110 on Wednesday night in what was a tough showing. Despite Zach LaVine scoring a team-high 33 points, the Jazz’s backcourt dominated the game.

Donovan Mitchell scored 25 points in the third quarter, finishing the game with 37. The Bulls usually rely on Alex Caruso to stop the bleeding when opposing guards start going off, but he was a step slow in this particular matchup.

"“I’m not 100 percent. I’m not going to lie to you,” Caruso said in his post game media availability. “I’m really just trying to get in the rhythm of the game. I’m trying not to make excuses, but that seven weeks, or six and a half weeks, it’s tough. I didn’t get any practices or anything, just right back into the game. I got high standards for how I want to play and how I want this team to play, and I don’t think I’m doing my part as well as I can right now, which is frustrating.”"

Frustrating is one way to describe Caruso’s up-and-down play since returning. In his first game, he was electric off the bench, leading Chicago to its best defensive game since January. The next game wasn’t so great, though — defense gave up 112 points to a bottom-10 offense in the Sacramento Kings.

Caruso’s lineups produced a -11 in that first half of that game, finishing with a -10 for the game. In Wednesday night’s matchup, his lineups were a -17 overall. In both games, he was punished for gambling on opposing team’s scorers. What makes his defense special is his ability to get in the passing lane and blow up a team’s regular schemes.

Alex Caruso admitted his wrist was still bothering him after the Bulls’ loss to the Jazz

His inability to time those plays right now could easily be a symptom of Caruso having to get back up to speed. Players coming off month-long rehabs take some time to get back into playing shape, which Caruso noted in the post game interview. But what’s concerning and could linger well into the playoffs is his wrist discomfort.

Throughout Wednesday night’s contest, Caruso grabbed at his surgically-repaired wrist after missing out on a few loose balls. Caruso and Billy Donovan don’t seem very concerned, as they expect soreness as he reintegrates himself to playing at a high level … but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

The Bulls will need to find their defensive identity without relying on Caruso to save the day as he works back to his usual self or if this wrist injury proves to be a lingering problem. In their losses this week, opposing point guards have had their way in the paint against the Bulls’ guards — not just Caruso, which is why the team’s defensive strategy as a whole needs to improve.

The return of Lonzo Ball should help, too.

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