The Chicago Bulls' hopes of a playoff spot have taken a significant hit after shooting guard Dwyane Wade was diagnosed with a broken elbow, ruling him out for what is left of the regular season.
An MRI exam on Wade's right (shooting) elbow showed a broken bone in the joint in addition to a sprain that will sideline him, the Bulls announced on Thursday.
The 35-year-old had left his side's 98-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.
Wade only scored eight points as the Bulls suffered their sixth defeat in seven games, hitting three of 11 shots.
He expressed concern to reporters after the match, saying: "I knew it was something a little bit more just because of what I heard. It is not good pain at all.
"I tried to play through it a little bit until the pain started getting a little bit more excruciating. I heard a couple of pops.
"My concern level is there are only 14 games left, and I have never had this injury, so I can't say two days, two weeks - I don't know."
Wade is averaging 18.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 30.2 minutes per game in his first season with his hometown Bulls, who are 32-36 and a game out of the Eastern Conference's number eight spot going into Thursday's matches.
It is 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.
With Wade out, it is likely Denzel Valentine will be asked to step into a bigger role at shooting guard, though the scoring void left by his absence will be spread among more veteran players elsewhere in the line-up.