‘He could’ve ended his career’: Grayson Allen’s flagrant foul on Alex Caruso — resulting in a fractured wrist — draws the ire of the Chicago Bulls after a 94-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks

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‘He could’ve ended his career’: Grayson Allen’s flagrant foul on Alex Caruso — resulting in a fractured wrist — draws the ire of the Chicago Bulls after a 94-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks

The Chicago Bulls suffered another big loss Saturday when Alex Caruso was declared out for at least six to eight weeks with a fractured right wrist suffered on the flagrant foul by Grayson Allen in Friday’s 94-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Though Caruso said after the game that X-rays on the wrist were negative, further tests revealed he’ll require surgery.

Now the Bulls must regroup again without their best defensive player, coming on the heels of the loss of Lonzo Ball, who also will be out six to eight weeks from the time he undergoes arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, which is scheduled to take place this week.

Coach Billy Donovan wasn’t available on Saturday’s off day in Orlando, Fla., but the normally low-key coach had plenty to say about Allen late Friday, calling on the league to investigate the Bucks guard for what he felt was a reckless decision.

The incident occurred with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left in the third when Caruso went up for a driving dunk when Allen fouled him hard. Caruso, who had just returned to the lineup after a monthlong absence from a foot sprain and a stint in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, remained down on the court for more than a minute as his teammates huddled around him. Allen was ejected after video confirmed it was a flagrant-2 foul.

Donovan called it a “really, really bad” foul and suggested Allen’s history should be considered if the league looks into it.

“For Alex to be in the air like that and take him down like that, he could’ve ended his career,” Donovan said of Allen. “And he has a history of this. That was really dangerous, and I really hope the league takes a hard look at that because he could’ve really, really seriously hurt him. He’s dealing with a wrist right now. I don’t know what the extent the wrist is, but just being there it’s really, really dangerous.

“It wasn’t good. ... And for a team to be extended to a flagrant-2 and be thrown out of the game, clearly the officials must have felt there was some intent there, the way he yanked him and snapped him (hard enough) for his head to bounce off the floor. A really, really dangerous play.”

Caruso was attempting a two-handed slam and said he didn’t know what had happened when he came down. But after looking at tape, Caruso said “the dude just grabbed me out of the air.”

“It was kind of (expletive),” he said. “I don’t know what you can do about it. I’m just glad I didn’t have any major, scary injuries right away.”

Allen did not say anything to Caruso after the play and was seen on TV cameras smirking on the Bucks bench.

Donovan said he didn’t know what Allen would say about the play but pointed to Allen’s “history of doing that all the way back to college” at Duke, where he famously tripped a player.

Asked about Donovan’s remarks on Allen’s history, Caruso pleaded ignorance.

“To be honest, I don’t watch too much Duke basketball,” he said. “I don’t watch a lot of any basketball other than the team I’m with. I don’t really have anything to comment on that.”

Donovan said he thought about sitting Caruso the rest of the game, but Caruso insisted he wanted to go back in. Caruso said afterward that his right wrist was “a little sore” and “banged up,” and the fact it was his shooting wrist made things difficult.

Donovan noted the Bulls also lost Patrick Williams to a left wrist injury at the start of the season on a flagrant foul by the New York Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson, but he felt Robinson was making a “legitimate play” on the ball, unlike Allen.

“God forbid this guy (Caruso) was a in a stretcher going out of the building right now,” he said. “That would not be good. Listen, I know it’s a physical game, and there are plays at the basket and a lot of contact and things like that. There’s a right way. You can go up and have physicality like that. But not that way in my opinion.”

The Bucks apparently had no problem with Allen’s foul and featured him munching on a doughnut on their Twitter account Saturday, which led to quote tweet from the Bulls’ account that simply said “Seriously?”

The Bulls aren’t looking for moral victories at this point in the season, but Friday’s loss was a little easier to digest than some of the games in their recent skid. They’ve lost five of six.

“Fun game,” DeMar DeRozan said. “Those are the type of games you want to be in. The defending champs, we were going in there short-handed. No excuses. I’m proud of our guys. We went out there and competed. … All you can do is hope to have a chance late in the game, and we did that.”

Despite a 35-point night from DeRozan, who connected on 17 of 18 free-throw attempts, the Bucks managed to hold on late. Trailing by seven with less than two minutes left, Nikola Vučević sank a 3-pointer and DeRozan hit a pair of free throws, pulling the Bulls within two with 1:10 to play.

The Bulls took possession on a jump ball and had a chance to either tie or take the lead, but DeRozan missed a 3-point attempt. Kris Middleton then hit a pair of free throws with 15.8 seconds left to make it 94-90, effectively ending the Bulls’ comeback. The Bulls misfired on three 3-point attempts in the final seconds.

A few thousand Bulls fans made the trip to Milwaukee, making for a festive night.

“It was one of those games, playoff atmosphere-like, with our fans, their fans,” DeRozan said. “You want to play in games like that. It sucks we didn’t pull out the win. But it showed a lot about our character.”

Now the team’s character will be tested again with Caruso out of the rotation only days after rejoining the lineup from his COVID-19 stint. After Friday’s loss, Caruso was asked if their performance against the defending champs was something the Bulls could still feel good about.

“As far as trying to build habits and compete to win and execute defensive schemes, yes,” Caruso said. “But we want to win games.”

That task became a lot more difficult thanks to Allen’s reckless play.