Torrey Craig

Bulls' Torrey Craig to miss 8-10 weeks with foot injury

Veteran forward hurt right heel during Saturday's loss to the Heat

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

One of the Chicago Bulls' two main offseason free-agent acquisitions will miss an extended period of time.

The team announced on Tuesday that veteran forward Torrey Craig will miss eight to 10 weeks with "an acute sprain of his right plantar fascia." Craig, who turned 33 on Tuesday, will be immobilized for four weeks and then require another four to six weeks of rehabilitation.

Some birthday.

Craig suffered the injury during Saturday's loss to the Miami Heat on a night he again was showing his importance to the rotation. Not only did he supply the defense and communication that attracted him to management, he sank four 3-pointers as part of his season-high-tying 16 points.

Over 27 games that featured seven starts thus far this season, Craig is averaging 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds, including 1.9 offensive rebounds. Craig long has developed a reputation for giving his team extra possessions with his knack for hunting offensive rebounds with his length and anticipation.

But his impact goes beyond numbers.

"He cares about winning and defense. That's it. He takes pride in every matchup he has. He never wants a double-team. And especially on the defensive end, he's always talking and teaching us young guys," Coby White said. "And the one thing I love about him is he's not afraid to use his voice.

"Even sometimes if it's not what the coaches said but the players feel. If the players feel a certain type of way, he's going to be the one who will say, 'We feel like we should do this.' And then we come to a common ground, which is great for communication. That's what he brings to the table. That's why you could put him on any team and he's going to thrive. He's going to hoop."

With Zach LaVine already sidelined, Craig's loss in the rotation will mean increased playing time for Patrick Williams, who already had regained his starting spot from Craig, and reserves Jevon Carter, Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips.

Williams is quietly having a very impactful defensive season, and his shooting has rounded into form after a slow start. He's averaging 27 minutes per game, and that number could go up.

The Bulls typically like to keep Alex Caruso's playing time in the 22- to 26-minute range because of his physical, hellbent style. But he also could see a slight uptick in playing time.

Regardless, Craig's absence is a significant blow to the Bulls, who, at 6-3, are in their best stretch of the season.

If Craig misses 10 weeks, he could return the final week in February. That would leave roughly 23 games left in the season.

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