Missing guard Alex Caruso’s ability to force the opposition into turnovers is one thing.
But what the Bulls really missed in Caruso’s absence Monday against the Pacers was the chaotic energy he brings to the defensive side of the floor.
That’s why coach Billy Donovan wasn’t thrilled with the news he received minutes before his pregame media session: The medical staff ruled Caruso out with a bruised left wrist.
Because the game against the Pacers was the second of a back-to-back, there was no shootaround for Caruso to test the injury. So he arrived at the United Center for the pregame walkthrough and did all he could to try to get the wrist ready. He failed.
‘‘I don’t think so,’’ Donovan said when he was asked if the injury was thought to be significant. ‘‘It’s basically a bruised wrist right now, and I think just his mobility — him being able to do things — has really been difficult for him. But right now it doesn’t look like something that’s long-term. I haven’t talked to the medical [staff], but they didn’t feel like it was going to be long-term. They’ll do X-rays, MRIs, all those things on him.’’
Caruso moved into the starting lineup on the Bulls’ recent West Coast trip, with the team short-handed after losing forward Patrick Williams (wrist surgery) for the season and center Nikola Vucevic to a positive coronavirus test. That’s when he first injured the wrist.
Caruso tried to play through it, then reinjured it Sunday against the Knicks.
‘‘It was something that was lingering, and I think [Sunday] caused more problems for him,’’ Donovan said.
With Caruso out, everyone in the rotation moved up a spot. Coby White entered the starting lineup, and Troy Brown Jr. made his way back into the rotation.