Tyrus Thomas could be back practicing soon


Dec 14

Could it be: Good news for the Bulls?

The Bulls are expecting Tyrus Thomas to begin practicing this weekend. Friday marks six weeks since Thomas sustained a fractured left arm in a weight lifting incident. The timetable on his return then was set at four to six weeks. Although the Bulls are not holding Thomas to any specific timetable or putting any pressure on him to play despite the recent slump, Thomas has been shooting at practices and before games and if he practices this weekend could conceivably be ready to play next week. The Bulls host Sacramento Monday Dec. 21 and go to New York Dec. 22 and then have three days off before hosting the New Orleans Hornets Saturday Dec. 26. That would be seven weeks since Thomas’ surgery and it would make sense he’s back playing at least by then.

Though it’s not quite like Michael Jordan’s 1995 return to the Bulls, having Thomas back would help alleviate the minutes the regulars are piling up and presumably help improve the stumbling defense.

Thomas should certainly have fresh legs and provide the Bulls protection at the basket and give the Bulls better size up front where Taj Gibson has been terrific, but often troubled by taller players.

When Thomas was injured, the Bulls were 3-2 and had just won their best game of the season in Cleveland. Thomas was averaging 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks, though had played just 12 minutes against the Cavs and scored six points.

But sometimes absence makes the coach’s heart grow fonder. Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro has been tough on Thomas, but Thomas’ return would be a welcome relief for the struggling team. It’s also presumably vital for Thomas, who will be a restricted free agent this summer and would figure to be anxious to have a good regular season.

Thomas’ return would give the Bulls additional flexibility and I could see him playing some center in a smaller, quicker lineup that could match up better with the higher scoring teams.

The Bulls also got some disappointing news that 2008 draft pick Omer Asik, playing in Turkey, suffered a broken collarbone over the weekend and will have surgery. The slender seven footer is expected to be out several months, so it’s unsure he will play again for his European league team. But he should be fine by summer when he is expected to join the Bulls and try to make next season’s roster. Asik had recovered from knee surgery last season.

What do you think? Leave a comment below: