Mike Dunleavy Jr., who was set for an 8-10 week recovery time frame in late September from a low back microdiscectomy, looks to be making great strides to possibly making a return sooner rather than later.
Fred Hoiberg — not shy to say the Bulls are keeping the Dunleavy return a cautious process — had this to say when he opened for questions after a Bulls practice mid-week.
“Right now is about building his strength back up. He’s been in the weight room for I think five days. [Tuesday] was an off-day for him after getting his load back up pretty good, and now the next step is getting back full movement, which hopefully will happen within the next week.”
Mike Dunleavy’s 8-10 week window that was initially diagnosed is upon us within the week, and his presence would sure alleviate the offensive woes that has occasionally materialized during these first few games.
“He means a lot. He means a lot to this team,” Hoiberg said. “He had a great year last year. Look at what he did with analytics, the numbers he had, he was as important as anyone on this team. He’s just a pro. He knows where to be, he’s always going to be in the right spot.”
While a Dunleavy return would immediately cement the wing depth for the Bulls roster, there isn’t any indication yet whether Hoiberg would be inclined to leave Doug McDermott as the starting small forward or reinsert Dunleavy to his old post.
McDermott — currently shooting 60% from 10-15 feet and 58% from beyond the arc — might just need to keep his status as the starter in order to keep his confidence at a high. Since being inserted into the starting lineup in favor of Tony Snell, McBuckets has been on a 59.5% FG tear and has vastly improved his defensive footwork against opposing starting talent.
A most likely scenario for Dunleavy, starting or not, would be to give him some time around the Bulls home-stand at the end of the month, starting against San Antonio on Monday, November 30th, and ending three games later on Monday, December 7th.