Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball injuries: What their absences mean for the Chicago Bulls and the East race

-- Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the news of Derrick Jones Jr.'s injury.

Do injuries to guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso threaten the Chicago Bulls' surprisingly strong season?

Within days, the Bulls learned they'd be without both of their playmakers and defensive stalwarts due to injury. On Thursday, Ball underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee that the team said is expected to sideline him six to eight weeks.

Two days later, Chicago announced that Caruso will also need surgery after suffering a broken wrist when he was flagrantly fouled by Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen on Friday night. Caruso's timetable to return is also six to eight weeks.

Although overshadowed by the addition of DeMar DeRozan, the defense, shooting and playmaking provided by Ball and Caruso have also helped the Bulls go from the lottery to leading the Eastern Conference before Friday's loss. They join a lengthy injury list in Chicago that also includes All-Star guard Zach LaVine, who's currently sidelined by knee soreness but expected to return sooner, and starting power forward Patrick Williams.

With the East standings crowded at the top -- the Bulls are second, a half-game back of the Miami Heat, while five other teams are within 1.5 games of them in the standings -- Chicago's positioning is precarious.

Let's take a look at the implications of Ball and Caruso missing the next several weeks.

Expect a defensive slide for the Bulls