Here's the good news: Derrick Rose could return to the Bulls lineup Monday, according to a source familiar with the situation. After missing four consecutive games with a turf-toe injury, the league's reigning MVP plans to play when the Bulls host the Nets.
Center Joakim Noah, who missed Saturday's home win over the Bobcats with a sprained left ankle could also return and is expected to be a game-time decision, as first reported by the Chicago Tribune. Noah was a late scratch Saturday after suffering the injury in Friday's win at Cleveland.
Reserve point guard John Lucas III told CSNChicago.com after Saturday's win, which he missed because of a strained left groin, that he expects to play Monday.
Now, the bad news. Ironman small forward Luol Deng, who was third in the NBA in minutes played last season and participated in all 82 regular-season contests, might not be available. Deng, who suffered a sprained left wrist Saturday -- he had an MRI Sunday, but said after Saturday's game that the x-rays were "fine," though he wore an ice pack in the locker room -- told CSNChicago.com via text message late Sunday night that he believed he could miss Monday's game.
Additionally, backup power forward Taj Gibson, who suffered a high left ankle sprain in Cleveland and missed Saturday's win, could continue to miss action. A person familiar with the situation told CSNChicago.com that Gibson's swelling remained significant Sunday.
Despite the injuries to Noah and Gibson, however, another source familiar with the Bulls' thought process told CSNChicago.com Sunday that the injuries to the big men are not "serious" and expects them to return "soon," so it's unlikely that the team will sign a free-agent post player in the meantime, as the list of available big men isn't considered very appealing.
With Gibson and potentially Deng out, expect veteran reserve forward Brian Scalabrine, a fan favorite, to log more minutes Monday against New Jersey.