Hornets look to bounce back vs. shorthanded Bulls
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CHICAGO -- Just when the start of the Chicago Bulls' season couldn't appear to get much worse, another injury has provided another obstacle.
The Bulls, who are winless heading into Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Hornets at the United Center, learned on Tuesday they will be without starting guard Kris Dunn for 4-6 weeks.
Coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters Tuesday that Dunn sustained an MCL sprain in his left knee during a 115-106 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The injury strips the Bulls of another starter as they are already playing without Lauri Markkanen, who is out until mid-November with an elbow injury and without key reserve Denzel Valentine, who has yet to play this season due to an ankle injury.
The loss of Dunn just adds to the Bulls' issues.
"I'm still processing everything," Hoiberg told reporters on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Dunn missed Chicago's first two games due to the birth of his son, but then was injured in the second quarter of Monday's loss in Dallas. After Dunn was evaluated in Dallas, he underwent a precautionary MRI on Tuesday, which showed the MCL strain.
"We obviously missed Kris in our first two games," Hoiberg said. "Now to have him out of the lineup for an extended period, it's extremely difficult. When you have a guy who really made strides over the course of last season and the summer, he had played the way he played during training camp, it's difficult.
"Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. It's next man up, ready to go. It gives guys (a) great opportunity to show what they can do."
Hoiberg said that with Dunn sidelined, the Bulls will look to Cameron Payne, Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaquille Harrison, whom the Bulls recently signed.
The Hornets (2-2) have won two of their past three games and will attempt to bounce back from a 127-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Charlotte has been led by Kemba Walker, who was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Walker averaged a league-best 35.3 points per game and also connected on an NBA-leading 3-point field goals as he averaged 6.3 3-pointers during Charlotte's first three games. The Hornets have also found success from 3-point range and entered Monday's game against the Raptors having connected on 49 3-point field goals, which established a record over a three-game stretch.
But against Toronto, the Hornets cooled off significantly from beyond the arc and finished the loss hitting just nine of their 28 attempts.
"We had some good looks early that didn't go," Hornets coach James Borrego told reporters. "Had those dropped early, we might have had a different outcome in the first half at least."
Borrego added: "We just were not sharp enough or physical enough defensively."
While the Hornets will be able to put their cold long-distance shooting behind them, they realize they can't rely too heavily on Walker without providing him some support.
"We've got to give Kemba a break," Hornets shooting guard Nic Batum told the Charlotte Observer. "It's going to be my job to (distribute the ball)."
Updated October 24, 2018