Shorthanded Bulls return home to host Bucks


Oct 13

By Adam Fluck

Following three exhibition games on the road, the Bulls will return home tonight to host the Milwaukee Bucks at 7 p.m. (CSN, ESPN 1000). But once again, they’ll have to take the court without some of their top players.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro acknowledged Derrick Rose (right ankle) and Tyrus Thomas (right hip) would again sit out, while Brad Miller has been added to the team’s injury report. Miller stayed home on Tuesday with a flu bug.

Del Negro said both Rose and Thomas, who was shooting around during pregame warm-ups at the United Center, had progressed. He wouldn’t rule out Thomas playing at Minnesota on Wednesday, but it sounded like his return would more likely come on the practice floor Thursday. He hoped Rose would return Thursday as well.

As for John Salmons, his expecting wife has yet to deliver the couple’s second child. Salmons missed the team’s trip to London Oct. 3-7, and though the birth could come any day, he is expected to travel with the team tonight to take on the Timberwolves.

With all of the team’s injuries, rookies Taj Gibson (13.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and James Johnson (12 ppg, 5 rpg) have picked up the slack. Given all of his players missing in action, Del Negro was asked if eight preseason games are enough.

“I wish we had 80,” he said. “We need more time, but we don’t have it. We have to get healthy and we have to get back on track.”

The Bulls aren’t the only banged up team in the building. Milwaukee Head Coach Scott Skiles reported that Andrew Bogut will not play tonight either, citing Monday’s physical game in Houston. Bogut went up against the Rockets’ Chuck Hayes, plus he matched up with the Bulls over the weekend in Green Bay.

Additionally, Skiles said that rookie Brandon Jennings will not start for the Bucks as previously indicated.

“He didn’t play well enough last night to deserve it,” said Skiles, who added Jennings would play a lot of minutes and could start the second half.

Jennings arrived at the United Center at 4:30 to try and bounce back from a tough game in Houston the night before, when he played 13 and a half minutes and shot just 1-of-8 from the field, finishing with three points.

“He let the missing of some shots affect the rest of the game, which is a common thing that a lot of young guys do,” Skiles added. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he shook it off and played really well tonight.”

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