Deng to miss 2-3 weeks with strained calf


Mar 19

By Adam Fluck

LeBron James and the Cavaliers visited the United Center on Saturday for the first time this season, possibly looking to avenge Chicago’s win in Cleveland on Nov. 5, the Bulls’ lone road win in the series since the 2007-08 season.

However, it wasn’t an ideal time for the shorthanded Bulls, already on a nine-game losing streak, to take on the team which owns the best record in the NBA at 54-15.

The bad news on the Bulls’ injury front got worse, as Head Coach Vinny Del Negro announced that Luol Deng will miss two to three weeks with a strained right calf, a potentially crushing blow to an already reeling Bulls team that is just one spot out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

“Luol is going to be out for awhile,” said Del Negro. “He was feeling better every day and we thought he was getting close, but he tried to warm up against Dallas, doing some straight-ahead jogging and it really swelled up on him. It's going to be two to three weeks, hopefully two. He's got more inflammation now than he had before, so that's a setback.”

An MRI following the incident in Dallas showed an increased amount of fluid, prompting a minimum two-week shutdown for Deng.

The Bulls will also be without Derrick Rose (sprained left wrist) and Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) again. However, there is a chance both players could play over the weekend.

“His wrist is still stiff and there is some inflammation in there,” Del Negro said of Rose. “He’s having trouble dribbling with that left hand a little bit.”

Del Negro said Rose will test the wrist again on Saturday in Philadelphia and will be a game-time decision.

Noah will also be evaluated before Saturday’s game.

“If he does play—I don’t know that yet—it will be a very limited minutes number anyway,” said Del Negro.

Still, it may mean progress for a team that has experienced a crucial stretch of the season without its leaders and desperately needs them back on the floor.

“It’s definitely March madness,” Del Negro said with a sigh. “And it has nothing to do with college basketball at all. It’s tough and it’s maddening. But you can’t control those things. Derrick, Joakim and Luol all want to be out there, and we want to get back to the way of playing the way we’re capable of. But that’s not going to happen now for a little while.”

Audio—Bulls Head Coach Vinny Del Negro on the injury status of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, plus facing LeBron James and the Cavaliers (03.19.10):

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