Bulls don't believe Deng will require surgery

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Bulls don't believe Deng will require surgery

Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and John Lucas III are all available the former pair were in the starting lineup for the Bulls as they host the Nets. Taj Gibson is inactive Monday night and Luol Deng wont play either, though his situation is more complex.

Hes still consulting some doctors. Basically, an injured wrist and hes mapping out the course he wants to take, Thibodeau said of his starting small forward, who injured his left wrist in the fourth quarter of the Bulls home win Saturday over the Bobcats. Theres people that he wants to talk to. Hes gone down this road with an injured wrist before, so my guess would be it would be day-to-day.

Hes still gathering the information, Thibodeau continued about Deng, who had an MRI exam Sunday, though the results were apparently unavailable Monday. Lus an old-school guy. He came in, he goes, My wrist is injured. He said, I think Ill be fine. He said, Ive got a couple more doctors I want to talk to, and were going to go from there, so Im going to honor his request. He said hes able to move it and hes feeling better today, and he feels like itll be day-to-day. Im good with that.

Deng exited the game Saturday after suffering the injury, but re-entered the contest and was able to finish, though he had an ice pack on his wrist afterwards. Deng previously injured his right wrist earlier in his career and although the initial diagnosis for the injury Saturday was a sprain, the cautious approach raises the possibility that it could be more serious and require surgery, which would sideline him for more than the day-to-day timeline Thibodeau referenced.

I dont want to speak prematurely. I dont think hell need surgery, but again, theres more doctors that he has to talk to, so Im going to honor his request and well leave it at that, said Thibodeau, who started Ronnie Brewer in place of Deng. The team is very much involved. Its our doctors, in conjunction with some experts that he wants to talk to.

Well know more as he gets more information and again, he said it was a lot better today than it was yesterday, so thats what were going to go with, he added. You cant say enough about what he brings to our team, in all areas. You start with his leadership and toughness and the fact that hes our best defender, guards multiple positions, he plays to win, he does whatever you ask him to do, sets a great example in practice every day. So, you cant really say enough about him and hes having an All-Star type year.

That being said, were fortunate in the sense that we have great depth, so guys behind him Ronnie will start tonight with Lu out. We have Kyle Korver, we have Jimmy Butler, weve got Scal Brian Scalabrine. Weve got more than enough to win with, so we feel good about that.

Thibodeau was more definitive about Roses status.

Said Thibodeau: He says hes fine. The thing is, all the swelling is out of his toe, so hes moving fine. The thing is, in this league, youre going to get bumped and bruised. If you can play, you play and if you cant, you sit out. So, hes shown he has the ability to play through things. Were certainly not going to risk further injury with him. Were confident that hes ready to go.

Meanwhile, however, the coach will rely on his squads depth to see it through Dengs absence, whether prolonged or brief.

Well see how it unfolds. I think Jimmys done a good job. The one thing that we do have is, again, we have Kyle, we have Rip Rips getting into better shape now, so we can extend his minutes Scalabrine can also play three and four, Jimmy can also three and four, and he can also play the two, so we feel good about that, he said. Rip has shown, throughout his career, hes guarded one through three.

Robin Lopez on when he knew he'd be suspended: 'When I threw a punch'

Robin Lopez on when he knew he'd be suspended: 'When I threw a punch'

Most NBA players have to let their adrenaline come down before the reality of what's coming next begins to hit them, but Robin Lopez had his moment of clarity at the oddest time during his altercation with Toronto's Serge Ibaka on Tuesday night.

When asked when he knew he would be serving at least a one-game suspension for his missed punch in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Raptors, Lopez said, "When I threw a punch."

The process from the NBA to Lopez was pretty straightforward, and Lopez called the one-game suspension "fair."

Ditching the caveman look for a clean shaven appearance at Friday morning's shootaround, Lopez seemed at ease with what happened and wasn't going to contest the one-game decision, especially since the NBA could've gone with two or three games as no precedent has been set for fighting this season.

"I mean, that's what the league gave. I'm going to stick with it," Lopez said, adding, "I didn't change my story."

The multiple camera angles would've made it impossible to believe a different recollection of the events had Lopez attempted to finagle himself out of the one-game suspension that stopped his 71-game starting streak with the Bulls this season.

[BULLS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

His matter-of-fact statement after an emotionally charged incident didn't hurt the Bulls. They beat the Pistons by 20 as Lopez was serving a banishment that ended his streak of 187 consecutive games played. But he was happy Joffrey Lauvergne got a chance to prove his worth.

Lauvergne had 17 points and seven rebounds Wednesday night, and he'll be behind Lopez against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night as Cristiano Felicio is recovering from a hard fall late in the Raptors game.

"He's very versatile. He's a playmaker, he can score from a lot of different spots on the floor. He's a really smart basketball player," Lopez said of Lauvergne. "I always want to be out there with the guys. But they took care of business and did their thing. So I was pleased to see them pick up the win."

Picking up two in a row shouldn't be a monumental task against the 76ers, though they are 3-3 in their last six games and the Bulls haven't won two in a row in nearly a month as their grip on a playoff spot has loosened.

For the moment, the Bulls sit ninth in the East, a full game behind the surging Miami Heat, with a 34-38 record. Teams with nothing to lose can be playoff spoilers, and the Bulls have lost more than their share of games to lesser teams this season.

"Those teams do play loose," Lopez said. "They kind of just go out there to play basketball, and that can be a bit dangerous. But we've got something to play for, so we've got to be more motivated. The Sixers especially, they play really well, they have a lot of energy. So we've got to go out there, we've got to play motivated."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000), Brian Hedger (nhl.com) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel.  The Bulls beat the Pistons in a game with huge playoff implication.  So could they actually make the postseason?

The Blackhawks are closing in one division title but what’s their biggest weakness?

Plus Theo Epstein’s a really great leader, Kyle Hendricks is going to have to wait a while to pitch plus DeShone Kizer loves the band “Chicago” but will he play here?