Luol Deng returned to the lineup on Saturday and helped the Bulls to a 103-90 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 21 points and pulling down 9 boards in 41 minutes of play.
Not really a stat line you expect from someone whos sat out the past seven games with a torn ligament in his left wrist.
It says a lot about him as a pro, said head coach Tom Thibodeau. Luol has a lot of physical and mental toughness. He stayed in great shape, prepared himself well, was diligent with his rehab and did all the things that you would expect a good pro to do. I saw how hard he was working on his conditioning so I knew that that part, he would be fine.
"The thing about Lu is not only is he a two-way player, but he plays with both units and he makes both units function well, he continued. We missed him some from that standpoint but in some ways, it was also good. It gave some other guys an opportunity to get more playing time and they responded well and were encouraged by that.
After Saturdays win, Deng mentioned that he originally planned to make his return Thursday night against the New York Knicks, but wanted to stay as close to doctors orders as possible.
I was going to play when we were in New York but if I played in New York Saturday was two weeks after sustaining the injury and I was told four to six weeks, rest it four weeks and then come back, said Deng after their win on Saturday.
I knew when I had the injury, the way it felt, I could recover quick. When we were in New York I was going to play but it got sore. I did some warming up with Scal Brain Scalabrine and John Lucas. We did a lot of three-on-three and one-on-one and it got sore the next day. We wanted to be smart and let it be two weeks.
As for any concern on how the wrist would respond after Saturdays game, Deng went through a full practice on Sunday without any limitations.
Hes fine, now, said Thibodeau. If he has a problem, well deal with it then but he said he feels good.