Dunn may return for Bulls meeting with Raptors

CHICAGO — Even in the midst of a season filled with inconsistency, the Chicago Bulls have clearly been a better team with Kris Dunn on the floor.

The team the Bulls resemble without Dunn has been evident over the past 11 games, eight of which Chicago has lost.

But as the Bulls’ rebuilding effort continues Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors, Chicago could get Dunn back after the starting guard that dictates the pace with which the Bulls play has been sidelined with concussion symptoms.

The Bulls (20-36) have won two of their past three games after dropping seven straight. And despite nearly blowing an 18-point lead in a 105-101 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night, the Bulls hope to keep their recent momentum surging Wednesday against the Raptors.

Dunn is expected to be a game-time decision Wednesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We’ll be careful with it,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said Tuesday, according to the Sun-Times. “It’s just good to have him out here in practice. Competitiveness goes up because of his drive.”

Dunn has become a closer this season for Chicago, which has played long stretches now without Dunn and fellow guard Zach LaVine, who returned in January from offseason ACL surgery. And although the Bulls remain well out of the playoff picture and more likely destined to set themselves up for a lottery pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, getting Dunn back impacts how much the Bulls’ young core of talent will shape up as the season plays out.

Dunn is ready to get back to the floor after missing action for the second time this season. Dunn also missed the first four games with a dislocated finger.

“I tell people all the time that I got hurt more in basketball than I did in football,” Dunn told reporters Tuesday, according to the Sun-Times. “It’s kind of weird to me. All of them have been freak accidents. So I’m not too worried about it. If they were all minor injuries, then I’d have to look at my body. … You just have to get through it. It better be enough.”

The Raptors (40-16) enter Wednesday’s game riding a six-game winning streak after holding off the Miami Heat 115-112 on Tuesday.

Toronto has gotten plenty of contributions from its bench during its current string of success and will be a key for the Raptors, who will be coming off Tuesday’s game before it faces the Bulls and then breaking for the All-Star break. After Wednesday’s road test, the Raptors won’t play again until Feb. 23.

“I don’t think it (All-Star break) ever comes a bad time for players,” said reserve forward/guard C.J. Miles said, according to the Toronto Star. “Just because of the amount of grind we put on our bodies and even mentally when you come in here (practice facility) and prepare. Every now and then, guys need those couple of days just to be able to cut that switch off.”

With a victory Wednesday, the Raptors would extend their streak to a season-best seven games. But Miles said as well as Toronto is playing, the Raptors can’t get ahead of themselves.

“There are going to be stretches for any team during the season and you look around and they are going to have their ups and downs,” he said. “There are going to be times when things aren’t clicking, teams where they seem invincible.

“What’s important is to understand there is a bigger picture.”