The curious case of Ronnie Brewer

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The curious case of Ronnie Brewer

PHILADELPHIADerrick Rose isnt walking through that door, due to his torn left ACL. Joakim Noah, while present, isnt able because of his badly sprained left ankle.

But what about Ronnie Brewer? Unlike the aforementioned pair, the swingman who started 43 regular-season games while starting shooting guard Rip Hamilton dealt with a variety of injuries is healthy, yet missed his first game of the entire campaign, playoffs included, in Fridays Game 3 loss to the 76ers.

Brewer has clearly been struggling on the offensive end, but even with a short-handed squad, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau not only elected to sit him, but went with rookie Jimmy Butler for limited minutes on the wing.

Rip played more, less minutes, so thats what we were going with, said Thibodeau. Just looking for something different. Wanted to give Jimmy a crack. Jimmys been working hard and I just wanted to see how he would respond out there. Actually, he didnt play a lot of minutes, but I liked the way he played.

Rather than being disgruntled about his DNP at least not publicly Brewer, one of the most affable players on the Bulls, was diplomatic about the move.

Whenever your name is called, youve got to be prepared to play and thats his motto since Ive been on the team. If my name is not called, somebody else needs to step up and play big. If my name is called, Ive got to be ready to step in and contribute, he told CSNChicago.com. In this league, nothing really surprises me anymore, from not playing to getting traded, whatever it is. Ive just got to stay ready. My teammates have confidence in me, so whenever my name is called, Ive just got to be ready to play.

With an even shorter rotation due to Noahs injury and All-Star Luol Deng likely to log some minutes at power forward in Sundays Game 4 speaking of Deng, while hes been an ironman and led the NBA in minutes per game during the regular season, perhaps stealing brief periods of rest could help resuscitate his offensive game its possible Brewer makes a reappearance Sunday.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Gar Forman's plan work?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Gar Forman's plan work?

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan is joined by Rick Telander (Chicago Sun-Times) and Mark Carman (WGN Radio) to talk Bulls. 

The panel breaks down the trade with Oklahoma City and question whether the team is better or worse now. 

Later, the guys talk about the Blackhawks' trade for Tomas Jurco and also break down the upcoming Daytona 500. Finally, Telander discusses his five-part series chronicling the Orr High School basketball team as they excel on the court and try to survive off it. 

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below. 

Blackhawks acquire Tomas Jurco from Red Wings

Blackhawks acquire Tomas Jurco from Red Wings

General manager Stan Bowman saw the potential in Tomas Jurco several years ago.

For the 24-year-old forward, it wasn’t working out with the Detroit Red Wings. Perhaps a change of scenery, an opportunity on a team that could vie for another Stanley Cup, makes a difference. The Blackhawks are about to find out.

The Blackhawks acquired Jurco for a third-round pick in this year’s draft on Friday afternoon. The 24-year-old Jurco has played in 16 games with the Red Wings this season but has yet to collect a point. In four seasons with the Wings, Jurco had 15 goals and 24 assists in 159 games. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that, “things haven’t worked out” for Jurco there and that he wanted to go elsewhere.

Jurco was on a bye as a member of the Red Wings but, now that he’s with the Blackhawks, the bye ends. Bowman was hopeful Jurco would join the Blackhawks at practice on Saturday. Also, to clear a roster spot for Jurco, the Blackhawks reassigned Vinnie Hinostroza to the Rockford IceHogs.

[RELATED: Nick Schmaltz gaining confidence, effectiveness with Blackhawks]

Bowman said he’s been watching Jurco for a few seasons now.

“We’ll be patient with him but we really think there’s a good fit there, looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play,” Bowman said. “He’s been an accomplished player at a lot of different levels. He’s shown flashes in the NHL, not as consistently as he or the Wings would like, but you can see the talent and potential. You have to have some patience with these guys. It doesn’t always come together right away. I’m not expecting him to carry our team but I think he can contribute.”

It was an under-the-radar trade for Bowman but that’s not surprising. In late January, Bowman said he probably wouldn’t do much at the trade deadline; he liked how the Blackhawks’ young players were progressing and figured, if that continued, the team would be in good shape. Since then the Blackhawks have won eight of their last nine and are just three points behind the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Wild. As the Blackhawks kept winning it looked like, if they did anything, it would be a depth move.

So will there be any more moves? At this point it doesn’t seem likely, be it on forward or defense – Bowman didn’t have an update on Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) but said he’s happy with the depth in Chicago and Rockford on defense. Bowman said he’ll keep talking but, “but it’s a little bit different than in previous years when I thought we definitely needed something and were lacking in an area.”

“I’ve had a feeling about our team, not just recently but even a month ago. I liked the way this group was starting to come together,” Bowman said. “We’ve seen that enhanced over the last couple of week here. We’ve seen players step up, [Nick] Schmaltz in particular. [Ryan] Hartman’s been good all year. We’ve seen Jonathan [Toews] become a dominant player again. It gives your team a confidence that you have balance, scoring in different lines. We just added a young player to help us now as well as in the future. There’s a lot to be excited about. I’m not expecting more trades. I can’t predict more will happen but I have a good feeling about this group right now.”