5 Chicago Bulls Who Absolutely Must Avoid Injury This Preseason

Shehan Jeyarajah@shehanjeyarajahCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2012

5 Chicago Bulls Who Absolutely Must Avoid Injury This Preseason

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    The Chicago Bulls had a tumultuous offseason that saw the departure of eight players and the arrival of six. Needless to say, the Bulls' roster looks a whole lot different this season than it did last season. 

    The Bulls will have some problems fitting together at first due to all their new acquisitions. Because of that, the Bulls will need certain players to stay relatively healthy. Derrick Rose will also be out for the foreseeable future, so the Bulls will need all the talent they can get. 

    Here are five players who need to stay healthy on the Bulls next season. 

Kirk Hinrich

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    Kirk Hinrich was drafted as a Chicago Bull in 2003 and was then traded during the 2010 offseason in order to create cap room, only to return this year. Hinrich was a relatively healthy player during his tenure in Chicago. However, ever since he was traded, he has been injury-prone.

    Chicago typically would not be dependent on a player like Hinrich, as he would just be there to be a backup point guard. However, with Rose out, Chicago needs a player to step up at point guard, especially on the defensive end.

    Out of the four point guards on the roster, Rose is injured, and Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague are both defensive liabilities. If Chicago wants to stay consistent on the defensive end, Hinrich needs to be healthy. 

Luol Deng

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    Luol Deng made waves last season when he was named to his first ever Eastern Conference NBA All-Star team. However, despite the success, Deng struggled last season with an injury to his left wrist. Deng tore a ligament in his wrist and never truly took the time to recover.

    This offseason, Deng did not have surgery, rather choosing to represent Great Britain in the Olympics. This had been a dream of his for years, so you can't fault him for making that decision.

    However, the Bulls must be wary of this injury and make sure not to play Deng excessive minutes. If Deng cannot stay healthy, then the Bulls will struggle. 

Joakim Noah

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    During the 2011-12 NBA season, Joakim Noah was able to stay relatively healthy, only missing two out of a possible 66 games. Despite his relative health during the regular season, Noah became injury-prone in the playoffs, where he rolled his ankle badly in Game 3 and missed the rest of the series. 

    Noah has played three relatively healthy seasons and two unhealthy seasons in his career. Especially with star point guard Rose out, Noah NEEDS to stay healthy. If he does not, the Bulls will have little chance of staying in contention for a playoff spot. 

Richard Hamilton

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    Richard Hamilton is a player who has been injury-prone for the past few seasons and only kept that trend alive in Chicago. Last season, he played in less than half of the possible games for Chicago. However, with more limited minutes, he should have a chance to change that trend. 

    The Bulls have a major hole at the shooting guard position. Now that hole can hopefully be partially filled by new acquisition Marco Belinelli, but he is not the complete player that Rip Hamilton has the potential to be when healthy. Rip needs to stay healthy for the Bulls offense to stay alive. 

Derrick Rose

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    Now I know what you're thinking: Derrick Rose is already injured. He tore his ACL during the playoffs in April and will not return to the court until December at the earliest. Therefore, he will not get injured again during the preseason. 

    However, this whole season is dependent on Rose's return. Rose has been hard at work going through rehabilitation and strengthening exercises for his knee and body. It is absolutely imperative that Rose not suffer a setback while recovering during training camp. If Rose comes back in a timely manner, then the Bulls will be able to make a late surge.