Should Deng play Sunday?


Should Deng play Sunday?

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng is itching to get back on the court and has his eyes set on Sunday's much-anticipated rematch vs. the Miami Heat. Is this a smart move?

Deng suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist Saturday vs. the Bobcats and reports indicate that he wore a splint when he left the United Center Wednesday. CSNChicago's Aggrey Sam reported early Friday that Deng "shot a lot" during a voluntary workout session Thursday.

Just a few days ago it was reported that Deng was "week to week" and "out for awhile" according to Tom Thibodeau. That didn't last long...

There's no question as to why Deng has his eyes set on Sunday's game but should he risk further injury?

The Bulls need all the power they can get against Miami. Dwyane Wade could miss his seventh straight game Friday night vs. the Knicks but Miami doesn't seem to be too hurt by his absence. LeBron James helped fill the void making six straight free-throws and finished with 32 points Wednesday against Detroit. Chris Bosh is averaging 28.8 points in his last four games.

Deng is no doubt valuable. He is second on the team with 15. 9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He scored 22 points in his last appearance vs. Charlotte, 21 vs. Cleveland Jan. 20 and 15 vs. Phoenix Jan. 17. He averages 17.1 points per game on the road, 15.9 as a starter. He's had some time to rest which has proven beneficial when it comes to scoring as he averages 16.3 points after one day of rest, 16.5 on two days of rest and 21.0 points on three or more days of rest.

Injuries aren't something to mess around with but in the end, it's all up to the player's comfort level. Deng said Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune, that he'll play through the pains to stay in the lineup.

Is it a smart idea for Deng to take the court Sunday? Will the game be worth the threat of worsening his condition?

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Who are the Bulls? The team that beat Cleveland and Toronto or lost to Dallas, Minnesota and Milwaukee?

That's the question Bulls fans are currently asking and the one Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill posed in the video above.

The Bulls have had impressive wins and shocking losses, but neither of those should be surprising at this point. The Bulls are, as Goodwill put it, consistently inconsistent.

The first half of the season has proven that Dwyane Wade still has some memorable moments left to give and Jimmy Butler continues to approach superstardom. On the downside, the drama surrounding Rajon Rondo has meant the 'three alphas' that were hyped up in the preseason haven't been the dynamic trio some Bulls fans had hoped.

Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn't have the shooters his system needs, but can he still rally the troops and get something out of Rondo?

Watch the video to see Goodwill's look back on the Bulls' first half and what could be ahead.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Watch as the Bulls take on the Mavericks tonight on CSN+ and streaming live on Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. What's Jimmy Butler got in store? On paper, Butler's performance Sunday night against the Grizzlies was nothing special. In fact, in many ways it fell short of his season averages. But Jimmy G. Buckets was on his game in the fourth quarter when the Bulls needed him most, helping them to a crucial road victory in Memphis. Tonight a fast start will be key against a Mavericks team that struggles to play from behind.

2. Dirk Nowitzki is back. The Mavericks are finally getting back to full-strength, and the main contributor to that is Dirk Nowtizki. The future Hall-of-Famer is finally rounding into form after an Achilles injury kept him out of the lineup most of the year. In his last three games, Nowitzki is averaging 20.3 points on 49 percent shooting.

3. There was at least some rumblings that the Bulls might have considered going after Ames native Harrison Barnes this past offseason. Instead, Barnes wound up in Dallas a potential building block for the Mavs. And he's looked pretty solid through the season's first half. Barnes is averaging 20.7 points on 48 percent shooting, 5.4 rebounds and nearly a steal per game in 36 minutes. It'll be a fun matchup watching him go against Jimmy Butler.

4. More 3-pointers on the way? It's easy to say that a 31-point outing will get you going, but maybe Doug McDermott can build on his career night against the Grizzlies. He hit 3 of 6 triples, made 10 of 11 free throws and even added six rebounds and a(nother) block. The Bulls will be able to run more against the Mavs than they were the Grizzlies, meaning more spacing for McDermott to find open shots. If he's hitting early, the Bulls are in good shape.

5. A three-game winning streak on the line. The last time the Bulls won three straight -- earlier this month -- it pushed them over .500. Now they've got a chance to reel off a third straight and again get back over .500. As poorly as the Bulls have played as a whole, the Eastern Conference is wide open at the bottom half of the playoff bracket, so these are opportunities they don't want to miss against a struggling team.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

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