Trans. Dec 9 11:46 ET (Dec 9 11:46 ET ) DEERFIELD, Ill. — The Bulls, down to nine healthy players in their last game, might get some reinforcements back in the lineup in the near future. Luol Deng, who missed Saturday’s home loss to the Pistons with a sore left Achilles, wasn’t a full participant during practice Monday at the Berto Center. But Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau sounded relatively optimistic about the All-Star small forward’s chances of playing Tuesday night against Milwaukee at the United Center, the first game in a stretch of four in five nights. Fellow starter Jimmy Butler, who’s been sidelined since Nov. 18 with a turf-toe injury, is also on the mend.
With their star guard done for the season, the Chicago Bulls hope their current leading scorer is healthy enough to get back on the floor. Luol Deng could return from a one-game absence when the Bulls try to get back on track and avoid a third consecutive home loss to the lowly Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. Averaging 19.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists, Deng is day to day with an Achilles' injury that kept him out of Chicago's 92-75 defeat to visiting Detroit on Saturday. With another season-ending knee injury to Derrick Rose and guard Jimmy Butler still out due to a toe injury that has sidelined him the past nine games, the Bulls (8-10) can't afford to be without another key contributor.
Joakim Noah may have summed it up best, if a tad inappropriately: “We sucked tonight and we’ll do better next game,” the All-Star center repeated, following the Bulls’ 92-75 loss to the Pistons at the United Center. But without three starters—All-Star small forward Luol Deng, suffering from a sore left Achilles’, joined sidelined shooting guard Jimmy Butler, still recovering from a turf-toe injury, and of course, Derrick Rose—Detroit won in Chicago for the first time since 2006, courtesy of the Bulls’ 33.3 percent shooting from the field, a nine-point third quarter, losing the battle of the boards and allowing 12-for-19 three-point shooting, a major reason Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings scored 33 points on the evening. You have a good win and the thing you’re concerned with is how quickly everything can change, so you lose a guy and you’re starting a different group, then your bench changes,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau explained. Taj Gibson, filling in for Deng at a new position and perhaps the Bulls’ lone bright spot, scoring 21 points and 10 rebounds to notch another stellar outing in what’s been a career individual season thus far, was similarly defiant.
DEERFIELD — Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler is making slow progress toward a return from his turf-toe injury. Listed as “week-to-week” ahead of the team’s “Circus Trip,” Butler was able to do some running Friday afternoon, according to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. “I don’t know if it’ll be a full week, but he’s got to practice,” Thibodeau said after the team’s practice at the Berto Center. “I don’t know if he’ll practice yet.”
The Chicago Bulls have lost six of seven games, are without their starting backcourt in Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, and are likely still feeling the effects of a six-game West Coast road trip and triple-overtime loss at home just three days ago. Yet despite all the factors going against Tom Thibodeau's group, don't expect the Miami Heat to be overlooking them tonight at the United Center. Erik Spoelstra and the two-time defending champions arrive in Chicago off a 107-97 loss at home to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday that ended a 10-game winning streak. They still hold the second best record in the Eastern Conference at 14-4 (trailing only 17-2 Indiana) and two-time reigning MVP LeBron James has continued to evolve his unprecedented game.