Those of us who live here know what T.S. Eliot doesn't, that January is the cruelest month.
Old sneakers stuck in the ice;
slipping down twice;
leaving are even the mice.
Wendell Carter Jr. from Georgia and Chandler Hutchison from California learned, though in an even more painful way than losing yet another glove trying to change a flat from that pothole you hit while your car was skidding into a ditch.
Both rookies were injured in January, and it's beginning to look like Hutchison will not return this season, either.
Carter, the No. 7 overall draft pick, suffered a freak thumb injury in a fall in a loss to the Lakers and was declared out for the season after surgery. He played 44 games mostly as starting center, averaging 10.3 points and seven rebounds.
The Bulls Friday before the game with the Pistons offered an update on Hutchison. He had a scan earlier this week on the toe injury to his right foot. He is progressing well with a reassessment in two weeks. There will then be a decision. But given it usually takes about a week to be cleared after that kind of rehabilitation and that Hutchison, the 6-7 forward, has not been able to work out because of a foot injury, it seems unlikely he will return this season.
Unless, of course, the Bulls make the playoffs.
Hutchison was averaging 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds when he was hurt in his best game January 25 against the Clippers—darn those LA teams—ironically on the last play after his first double/double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Hutchison had started his last 11 games, but since then the Bulls acquired Otto Porter, whom coach Jim Boylen said, obviously, would continue to be the starter.
No hard feelings for Hutchison, who said he just has been disappointed at having his season short circuited.
"Based on what they saw it was positive in that it was something that won't linger once it heals," said the No. 22 first round draft choice. "Just like a bone, once it heals you are good, there are no lingering issues. So that's a good thing. The bad thing is in order for that to happen you have to let it heal. So that's going to be another two weeks to get me to that eight-week period and get reevaluated then and then in order to get cleared on the court takes another week or so.
"When it comes to healing, there's nothing you can speed up," Hutchison acknowledged. "Just wish that it goes away. You have to respect your body and what it's telling you. And that's what I have been doing. If I get back I get back. If not, start to take the steps toward preparing for next year. One of the biggest down parts of it is not being able to play, especially when the team is playing a lot better. It's something I can't hang my head down too far. I have to think about the future; it's not a one and done season. I'm going to have another go at this in another season. Just got to continue to build on it, keep working and get better and prepare for next year.
"I never get caught up in that (no longer starting) because I don't make the decisions," Hutchison said. "I can only do what I can and that's going to be continuing to compete for a spot. I am never going to be like I deserve this or I deserve that; that's not who I am. I am just going to keep working and let the chips fall where they may. It's exciting for me to have a guy like Otto in my position to be able to learn from. He's a pro's pro and that's what I've experienced from his time here. Otto already has been super helpful for me and I think that's going to be helpful for me down the road.
"Anytime you get hurt you are not happy about it," Hutchison agreed. "It was a weird coincidence that both of us got hurt and are having to sit out a big chunk of our first year. But one thing everyone says is injuries happen. Someone threw out the Michael Jordan thing, that he hurt his foot the second year. Things happen early in your career. If there's one thing you can take is to learn how your body responds and maybe doing things to make your body stronger to prevent future injury. That's something we've tried to do and learn a lot from even though we are not on the court. Watching and taking things in so we can still take something with us even though we are not going to be able to contribute on the court."