The Bulls' push for a playoff spot took a significant hit Thursday as an MRI exam on Dwyane Wade's right (shooting) elbow showed a broken bone in the joint in addition toa sprain that will sideline himfor therest of the regular season, the Bulls announced.
OFFICIAL: Dwyane Wade's MRI showed a sprain and a small fracture in the elbow. Wade will be out the remainder of the regular season. pic.twitter.com/SzKwnysq1I
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 16, 2017
Wade left in the fourth quarter ofWednesday's 98-91 loss to the Grizzlies with the injury, telling reporters afterward that "Iknew it was something a little bit more just because of what I heard.”
Wadewasaveraging 19.2 points,4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 30.2 minutes per gamein his first season with his hometown Bulls, who are32-36 and a game out of the Eastern Conference's No. 8 spot going into Thursday's games.
It's unclear from the Bulls' announcement whether Wade would be available should the team rally in the season's final two weeks to clinch a playoff berth.
On Wednesday, Wade expressed uncertainty before the nature of the injury was uncovered by the MRI exam.
“My concern level is there’s only 14 games left, and I’ve never had this injury, so I can’t say two days, two weeks. I don’t know," he said.
With Wade out, it's likelyDenzel Valentine (7.8 ppg) will be asked to step into a bigger role at shooting guard, though the scoring void left byWade's absence will be spread among more veteran players elsewhere in the lineup.