NEW YORK At the midway point in the third quarter of the Bulls wild, 110-106 Friday night win over the Eastern Conference-leading Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Luol Deng was stripped by New York veteran guard Jason Kidd and doubled over in pain, clutching his left shoulder. During the ensuing timeout, Deng was seen trying to stretch his left arm and when play resumed, he remained on the Bulls bench, attended to by the teams trainers and with a heat pack on his shoulder.
At the 3:26 mark of the same period, Deng checked back into the game, en route to notching 29 points and 13 rebounds in the victory. Immediately after the game, Deng talked about the injury to CSNChicago.com while still on the court.
I really don't know. We'll check it. It's sore right now. I was going up for a shot at J-Kidd kind of stopped my arm from the motion, Deng told CSNChicago.com. I hope it's just a muscle. We'll check it though.
He later discussed the injury in greater detail in the visitors locker room, after removing an ice wrap.
I was just going up for the shot. He Kidd kind of hit my arm when I was going up and well see tomorrow with my shoulder, Deng recounted. I felt it right away in my shoulder, but my arm was just numb, so I was worried that my shoulder would be out of place. But after a few minutes, it started to feel a little better. Its sore now, but its not dislocated or anything like that.
Were going to check again tomorrow, but I dont know exactly what it is. Its something with a ligament there. I dont know if its a sprain, he continued. Its almost like a pulled muscle. I dont really know. Ive never had anything like this.
Well see how it feels tomorrow morning and then well go from there.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau also shared his thoughts about the scenario.
I think hes fine, the coach said, before offering his opinion on the play itself, in particular, Kidd not being whistled for a foul. Some would say strip. Others would say something else.
He said, Im good, put me back in. I said, Im good, youre going back in, Thibodeau continued, referencing Deng being reinserted into the contest. He just got nicked up.