CHICAGO – Chandler Hutchison, whose rookie season was cut short by injury, experienced another setback.
The Bulls announced Thursday that he suffered a strained left hamstring during a Wednesday workout. An MRI exam confirmed the strain, and no timetable was given for his rehabilitation.
Hutchison, a first-round pick acquired in the Nikola Mirotic trade, played in just 44 games last season and none after Jan. 25. After posting his first double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against the Clippers, an MRI exam revealed an acute injury to the sesamoid bone in his right foot. He wore a walking boot for much of the rest of the season.
At the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Hutchison admitted he was on a minutes limit as he worked his way back from his injury. Still, the fact Hutchison averaged 26.3 minutes while playing in four games – skipping only one end of a back-to-back – seemed a significant step forward until this week’s setback. Hutchison averaged 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds during summer league play.
Hutchison’s injury exposes a legitimate question of reliable wing depth for the Bulls, who have been widely praised for an otherwise solid offseason of transactions. It also could improve Shaquille Harrison’s chances to make the roster, which has 16 players for 15 spots. Both a trade of Kris Dunn or the waiving of Antonio Blakeney are in play.
With training camp set to open at the end of the month, the Bulls have Hutchison and Denzel Valentine slated as backups to starters Otto Porter Jr. and Zach LaVine, respectively. Valentine missed all of last season after left ankle surgery.