OKLAHOMA CITY—Kirk Hinrich missing a fourth consecutive game with a back ailment didn’t come as a surprise, given he missed the Bulls’ loss in Houston the previous evening, but Luol Deng being ruled out for Thursday night’s game against the Thunder came a bit out of the blue, though can’t be completely unexpected with the team’s injury woes all season.
Deng will miss the matchup with an Achilles injury, according to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. This was the same ailment that caused the All-Star small forward to miss four games before returning to the Bulls’ lineup for last Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Toronto in Chicago.
“No, I hope not,” Thibodeau responded when asked if he thought Deng could be in for a long-term absence. "I think he’ll be fine. He just needs a little rest, I guess.
“He just has tightness, so we’ll see,” the coach added. “Achilles’ area, region. Calf, I don’t know.”
As for Hinrich, Thibodeau said the veteran floor general is, “Not much better today, so we’ll see.”
“Just tightness in his back,” he went on to say.