Chicago Bulls: Coach Tom Thibodeau Hints Luol Deng Could Have Bad Injury

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIJanuary 23, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 21:  Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket against Boris Diaw #32 of the Charlotte Bobcats at the United Center on January 21, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bobcats 95-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When K.C. Johnson interviewed Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau today, the Chicago Tribune beat reporter said it's possible Thibodeau hinted small forward Luol Deng has a serious injury. 

Thibodeau hinted in this article that Deng's left wrist sprain, which he suffered during the 95-89 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, could be worse after having an MRI on Sunday.

"We’re disappointed that he’s injured for him because he’s put so much work into it," Thibodeau told Johnson.

Right now, Deng is expected to sit against the New Jersey Nets and will miss his first NBA game since March 30, 2010.

This comes as a disappointment as Deng has been the glue that has been holding the Bulls together, especially in NBA MVP Derrick Rose's absence.

In the last four games D-Rose has missed because of his troublesome left big toe, Deng has averaged 19.5 points on 50 percent shooting with seven rebounds and three assists.

The South Sudanese baller has been having an All-Star-caliber season, averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists a night on 43.1 percent shooting.

Deng has provided the Bulls with a solid second offensive option for Rose by scoring 20 or more points in nine games in the young season.

Another aspect is Deng's stellar defense. He is a lockdown defender who contests shots and has the ability to steal the ball (over a steal a game in 2011-12) and turn that opportunity into easy fast-break points.

Deng quietly got five second-place and nine third-place votes for Defensive Player of the Year last season, an award Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard won for a third consecutive time.

If Deng misses significant time, Thibodeau will likely go with backup swingman Ronnie Brewer as the starter and rookie Jimmy Butler could see an increased role off the bench.

Hopefully, Deng isn't seriously injured. If he is, the Bulls will have to try and win without their second-best player.


Bob Bajek is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Bulls. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed at and Twitter.