Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. is doubtful for Friday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets with a thigh bruise

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Jamal Collier, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read
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Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. is doubtful for Friday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets after a collision with forward Denzel Valentine during practice Wednesday left Carter with a thigh bruise.

Carter left the practice and did not participate Thursday, limited to some strengthening drills for his quads, but he will be with the team in North Carolina.

Carter suffered the injury during a half-court, five-on-five drill when he was driving toward the basket on a pick-and-roll and collided with Valentine. Carter said he felt better Thursday and the Bulls wanted him to travel with the team just in case he continued to trend in the right direction, but he did not want to rush back.

“I feel like when I come back from this injury it’s not going to be 100%,” Carter said. “But at the same time I’ve got to understand that I don’t want to go out there and not be able to give my all for the team, not be able to give my all for myself too. I don’t want to create a bad reputation for myself or for my team, especially right now with us not playing as well on the defensive end. I don’t want to go out there and be a step or two too slow, give up easy buckets to the other team, so there’s definitely a thin line.”

The setback comes during one of Carter’s best stretches of the season. In the last six games, he is averaging 14 points, nine rebounds and two assists with a steal and roughly a block (0.7) a game in 27 minutes.

Injuries have derailed Carter’s development in each of his first two seasons, which is why one of his goals this year was to remain healthy.

“That’s just the nature of basketball. I understand that things happen,” he said. “I’ve been looking all across the league and there’s been a lot of injuries, noncontact, that have been pretty severe, season ending, and I’m just thankful it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.”

Carter’s status is in question, but the Bulls should receive a boost to their rotation against the Hornets.

Both Tomas Satoransky and Chandler Hutchison participated in practice Thursday for the second straight day and should be available.

Patrick Williams, who missed Monday’s game with a hip injury, and Garrett Temple, sore ankle, were full participants Thursday after sitting out practice the previous day.

Adam Mokoka is in concussion protocol and will not be available Friday.