After suffering from a sprain and small fracture in his right elbow, the Chicago Bulls have announced that Dwyane Wade will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2016-17 regular season.

This is Wade’s first season as a member of his hometown Bulls, and will have a player option this summer, worth $23.8M. It remains to be seen if he will opt in for that second year but as of now, there are no indications on what he may decide.

Wade did not sign with Chicago to play for a non-playoff team. He is committed to winning and doing so with the Bulls. However, this season’s struggles for the franchise may be enough incentive for him to sign elsewhere, perhaps rejoining with the Miami Heat.

Chicago (32-36) currently sits tenth in the Eastern Conference, fighting for a playoff spot with the Milwaukee Bucks (33-34), Detroit Pistons (33-35), and ironically enough, the Heat (33-35). Wade did say that should the Bulls make the playoffs, he would return if the opportunity presented itself.

It is unlikely the team will make the postseason at this point. They have had on-court as well as off-court distractions, and haven’t been able to find a consistent rotation. Trading away Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott certainly doesn’t help.

The point guard position has been confusing for them as they haven’t found their true starter. Rajon Rondo, Michael Carter-Williams, and Jerian Grant have all been given a chance. Grant is currently the team’s starter. With the addition of Cameron Payne from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the rotation could not get anymore difficult.

Chicago’s only consistent players have arguably been Jimmy Butler and Robin Lopez. If the Bulls want to make the playoffs, they’re going to need more production from the rest of the pack.

Dwyane Wade’s injury absolutely hurts the Bulls; more importantly, their playoff hopes. How Chicago finishes the season could very well be the deciding factor in retaining Wade’s services.

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