Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams cleared for contact


DETROIT — Alex Caruso has been cleared fully for contact practice and Patrick Williams has received clearance for minimal contact, according to Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan.

Caruso could practice as early as Friday, which is the Bulls’ next scheduled practice — although Donovan emphasized that it will be contingent on how his right wrist, which was fractured on Jan. 21, responds to workouts on Wednesday and Thursday.

Williams, who, like Caruso and Lonzo Ball, returned to Chicago for workouts and doctor visits after being with the team on Monday in Philadelphia, mostly will experience controlled contact for now.

“In terms of an actual (return) date for those guys, I’m not sure of that,” Donovan said Wednesday following the Bulls’ morning shootaround at Little Caesars Arena. “But this is the next step — doctors X-raying them, looking at them and now clearing them. So they can do some contact.

“In talking to Alex, the biggest thing he is going to have to overcome is just his strength. The passing. The shooting. He’s been dribbling a week to 10 days now. But he’s been laid up for a pretty long period of time so once he gets that back, that will have a lot to do with (his return).”

The Bulls are 11-10 since Caruso went down with his fractured right wrist, which was caused by the Bucks’ Grayson Allen’s flagrant foul. His defensive acumen and offensive IQ have been badly missed.

Following Wednesday’s game against the Pistons, the Bulls next play on home Saturday against the Cavaliers.

“A lot of it is going to depend as they start to ramp him up, how long is it actually take for him to feel comfortable passing and shooting?” Donovan said of Caruso’s return date.

Williams is just starting controlled contact, so his availability for Friday’s practice is unlikely. He hasn’t played since suffering torn wrist ligaments in another flagrant foul, by the Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson, on Oct. 28.

“We’re putting him in situations where there’s some contact with a guy one-on-one. But it’s not like he’s going to Windy City team and he’s jumping into practice and it’s five-on-five contact,” Donovan said. “Minimal contact is putting him in situations where he’s now guarding a body or a body is guarding him.

“A lot of the stuff we were doing with Patrick was all 1-on-0 movement stuff. We had him playing pick-and-rolls, trying to get over screens. It was all running around cones. Now the next thing is he can start to have controlled contact with a few people on the floor. Obviously, we’re being careful in terms of what kind of situations we’re putting him into.

“Alex is cleared for the contact piece. They feel like there’s been enough healing. He can do the 5-on-5 stuff.”

Ball underwent surgery to repair a small meniscus tear in his left knee on Jan. 25. The Bulls are 12-13 since Ball went down. He is behind Caruso and Williams for a return date.

“He’s running. Because of Patrick and Alex having wrist issues, they’ve been able to run, ride the bike,” Donovan said. “Lonzo has to get built up to sprinting, cutting, lateral movement. That’s where he has to improve.”

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