By Sam Zuba-
(CBS) If Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau’s hush-hush approach to Luol’s Deng’s wrist injury is any indication, the small forward could be out for the foreseeable future.
Deng suffered the left wrist injury in the fourth quarter of the Bulls’ win over the Bobcats on Saturday night. After an evaluation from team physicians, Deng will now seek the opinion of several specialists to see if surgery is necessary.
“I don’t want to speak prematurely,” Thibodeau said before Monday’s 110-95 win over the Nets. “I don’t think he’ll need surgery. Again, there are more doctors that he has to talk to.”
The results of an early MRI on Sunday were inconclusive, and Deng will be reevaluated.
“The thing with Lou, is Lou is an old-school guy,” Thibodeau said. “He came in and said, ‘My wrist is injured. I think I’ll be fine.’ He said he had a couple more doctors that he wanted to talk to. So, we’ll go from there. I’m going to honor his request. He said he’s able to move it and that he was feeling better today. He’ll be day-to-day. I’m good with that.”
Though Deng is “day-to-day” it seems quite clear he’ll be out for some time. Through 18 games this season, Deng is averaging 15.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
“You can’t say enough about what he brings to our team in all areas,” Thibodeau said. “You start with his leadership, his toughness. The fact that he’s our best defender. He guards multiple positions. He plays to win. He does whatever you ask him to do. … He’s having an All Star-type year. With that being said, we’re fortunate in a sense that we have great depth.”
Rose Returns From Injury
After missing four consecutive games with a toe sprain, Derrick Rose returned to the Bulls starting lineup Monday night against the Nets.
The reigning MVP said he felt no pain and he’s ready to put the injury behind him.
“It felt good,” he said. “I just want to get this toe injury out of the way. I didn’t feel it when I was out there, so I don’t have to worry about it.
“I knew I was going to play. After I shot (before the game,) I had a good feeling. I came back here, got it taped and it was gametime.”
Rose scored 22 points with eight assists and five rebounds in 36 minutes in his return.
At Monday afternoon’s shoot around, Rose had said he wouldn’t be 100 percent for the rest of the season — something he said was taken out of context.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “I know that if someone steps on it or something like that it’s going to hurt. You never know — I might go the whole year and nobody will touch it. You never know how it’s going to go.”
The decision to play ultimately rests on Rose’s shoulders, and that’s something that is going to continue.
“He says he’s fine,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “All the swelling is out of his toe. He’s moving fine. The thing is that initially, you’re going to get bumped and bruised. If you can play, you’ll play. If you can’t, you can’t. He’s shown that he has the ability to play through things. We’re certainly not going to risk further injury with him. We’re confident that he’s ready to go.”
Gibson Hopeful For Quick Return
Bulls forward Taj Gibson missed his second straight game with a high ankle sprain Monday night.
Gibson, who suffered the injury in Friday’s win over the Cavaliers, said he’s hopeful to return to action this weekend, though that seems unlikely.
“Hopefully by the end of the week or in the next couple of weeks,” Gibson said. “Knowing me, I just want to be out there, but the best thing is to make sure it’s not a lingering injury, so I’ll be cautious.
“I felt great today. I’m just making progress, moving forward. The swelling is going down a lot.”
Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 22 points. … All five of the Bulls starters scored in double figures. … Hamilton became the 120th player in NBA history to score 15,000 career points … The Bulls set a season-high with 33 assists.
Sam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com. Before earning a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, he spent two summers cover the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SamZuba and read more of his columns here.