Bulls’ Patrick Williams cleared for contact, assigned to G-League

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Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
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Patrick Williams, who started five games for the Bulls to open the season before tearing ligaments in his wrist, could be back on the court in the coming weeks.

The second-year forward out of Florida State has been cleared for contact following recovery from surgery to repair those ligaments, the Bulls announced. Chicago assigned him to the G-League Windy City Bulls to get him some practice time.

Coach Billy Donovan said how fast Williams might be back on the court depends on how his wrist responds to the increased workload and how fast he can build strength. From NBC Sports Chicago:

“A lot’s gonna now depend on how it goes once he does that (practices), and what does medical feel and he feel like [is] an ample amount of time for him to get comfortable actually going into a game,” Donovan said.

Williams, the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft and the youngest player on the Bulls’ roster, has missed a season of development. He was starting at the four so he could learn the position and grow playing next to core parts of the Bulls’ future — Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball — plus he brings some athleticism and defense to the roster. Even in those early games, Donovan was closing with Williams on the bench and Alex Caruso getting minutes, but it was always about development with Williams. The Bulls’ front office is very high on him.

Any games Williams can get in this season, and being around the Bulls and on the court a little during the playoffs, can help with his development. But more importantly, he will be healthy for a full offseason of work, coming back next season to a Bulls team with high expectations.