After a rough 2015-16 season, the Bulls overhauled their medical staff. The team appointed former athletic trainer Chip Schaefer to the position of Director of Sports Performance. The move paid dividends as the team cut their total games lost to injury in half for the 2016-17 season.
Sadly, an improvement in health didn’t result in on-court success as the “Three Alphas” Experiment lasted just one season. Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, and Rajon Rondo all moved on in the offseason as the Bulls launched a rebuild. The roster is now filled with young talent with Robin Lopez the only Bull with more than five years of NBA experience.
Unfortunately assumed injuries will increase the early season injury totals as guard Zach LaVine will miss time as he recovers from a torn ACL he sustained while still a member of the Timberwolves. Guards Cameron Payne (foot fracture) and Kris Dunn (dislocated finger) are also expected to miss the start of the year. The injuries for Payne and Dunn are both bone-related injuries, ailments that can be difficult to predict and prevent. Last season Chicago lost a considerable amount of games to similar ailments with bone injuries accounting for 38 percent of the team’s total games lost.
The rebuilding process would benefit if Schaefer and head athletic trainer Jeff Tanaka can successfully return these individuals back to the court. However, it seems likely the team opts for a conservative approach, especially with LaVine. Rookie Lauri Markkanen may also need extra attention as he has already displayed an affinity for mild injuries.