Golden State Warriors rookie Jordan Bell suffered what initially appeared to be a serious left leg injury on the first possession of Wednesday night’s game, coming down hard and awkwardly after trying to contest a driving dunk by Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez.
It looked like all 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds of Bell came down square on that left leg, with his ankle appearing to invert and bend the wrong way. It became clear very quickly that something was seriously wrong with the first-year forward, who got the start in place of the resting Draymond Green, when he couldn’t get back to his feet after hitting the deck.
Jordan Bell still down. Entire team has come off the bench and surrounded him. Trainer grabbing at his lower left shin/ankle area.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 18, 2018
Bell is being wheeled off the floor in a wheelchair.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 18, 2018
Never good to see the player carted off looking like this. You have to imagine it’s some sort of tibia issue, perhaps a fracture pic.twitter.com/WKQN1j1hjd
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) January 18, 2018
— Tino Figueroa III (@Boogie_f) January 18, 2018
Oddly, Bell is now the second player in the last three nights to need a wheelchair to get off the floor at United Center. Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson also suffered a nasty left ankle injury against the Bulls on Monday night, after getting tangled up with Lopez on a drive to the basket.
Things looked dire for Johnson in the immediate aftermath of his descent, too; luckily, X-rays came back negative, and his return’s now expected to come in a matter of days, not week. The silver lining in Chicago on Wednesday is that Bell’s story started the same way:
Jordan Bell update: Sprained left ankle, will not return. X-rays negative, MRI tomorrow.
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) January 18, 2018
The Warriors famously paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to the No. 38 pick in the 2017 NBA draft back in June, specifically targeting Bell — a big, athletic power forward and small-ball five who won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors at Oregon last year — as a player who might prove to be something of a Draymond starter kit when plugged into Golden State’s uptempo offensive attack and aggressive, switch-friendly defensive scheme. Bell quickly earned a place in Steve Kerr’s rotation, and has made an impact off the bench and as a spot starter in the Dubs’ frontcourt, averaging 5.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 blocks in 14.8 minutes per game over 37 appearances.
“I don’t really look at numbers, though. I look at the effort and the production I put in,” Bell recently told the Bay Area News Group. “It keeps me motivated to try to be the best I can be, and not to try to live up to anybody’s expectations. I try to exceed my own.”
He’s done an excellent job of that to this point in his rookie season. Here’s hoping the MRI results offer reason for optimism that he’ll be able to get back to doing so in the near future.
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