LOS ANGELES—Carlos Boozer will miss his second consecutive game with a strained left calf muscle, an injury that occurred prior to the Bulls’ loss Thursday night at Golden State.
The absence of Boozer, who missed two games in January due to the same ailment, means the Bulls are down to nine healthy players for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Lakers at the Staples Center. But the power forward believes he could be back for the Bulls’ next game, Tuesday evening against Atlanta at the United Center.
“Hopefully Tuesday. It’s gotten a lot better. Still a little tight in my calf, but getting better,” Boozer said. “They [the Bulls’ training staff] just think it needs a little bit more rest than the last couple times.
“That and I want to make sure it heals. I don’t want it to be a recurring thing through the rest of the season, heading into the playoffs. I want to make sure I nip it in the bud now,” he went on to explain. “It’s okay. It is what it is. It’ll take care of itself. It’ll get better and we still have a lot of season left, so I don’t want to rush it and come back, and it gets hurt even worse. We’ll heal it, get it right and then get ready for the rest of the way.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau added: “I don’t want to jump [to conclusions], but he’s feeling better, so that’s a good sign.”
Boozer also detailed how the injury occurred before the Bulls’ defeat at the hands of the Warriors.
“I was just getting warmed up, getting ready for the game and I felt a pop in my calf. Tried to go out and do a layup, but I couldn’t jump off it, so just needed to let it recover,” he said. “Obviously it wasn’t like I went and did something crazy. This happened when I was jumping and down, getting ready for the game.”
Thibodeau predictably wouldn’t reveal who would start in Boozer’s place, but did tout the merits of Bulls’ sixth man Taj Gibson.
“There’s few guys that can both start and come off the bench equally well and he’s one of them, so if you ask him to start, he handles that great,” the coach said of Gibson, in the midst of a career-best season. “You bring him off the bench; he’s one of those guys that it doesn’t take him five or six minutes to warm up, to get into the game. As soon as you put him in, he’s ready to go and so, he’s handled both responsibilities extremely well and he’s gotten a lot better.”