Boozer explains the bad break


Oct 3

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The lesson here, kids, is when your mom says to clean up and put things away because you could fall and get hurt, she wasn’t kidding.

And, yes, you could take an eye out, too. No running with scissors.

The Bulls will be without Carlos Boozer, likely for about eight weeks with a broken right hand above the pinky, because Boozer said he tripped over a clothes bag he neglected to put away and fell on his right hand.

With his hand heavily bandaged, Boozer met with reporters at the Berto Center Sunday night after practice and confirmed the freak accident. He said he’ll have surgery Tuesday morning and predicted he’d return “stronger than ever.”

“I was in my house and came around the corner, the doorbell was ringing and tripped over a bag,” Boozer said about the bag of clothes he’d had with him while staying at a hotel early in camp before going to his home. “I put my arm down to try to brace myself. I broke my fifth metacarpal, the pinky one. I’ll get surgery Tuesday and do my rehab and conditioning and be around the guys.

“The good thing is at least it happened right now and not later in the season when we’re in the thick of things.

“It’s extremely difficult, but things happen in the NBA,” noted Boozer. “It’s crazy it happened off the court, but it’s something you have to deal with. I’ll come back 100 percent healthy and stronger than ever. I’ll be back better than ever.”

After signing a big free agent contract with the Jazz in 2004, Boozer missed with injuries 31 games his first season and 49 games his second season. He played most of the season in three of the next four, though injuries remained a concern. But this seemed an aberration.

“I haven’t thought about Utah,” said Boozer. “I don’t feel I’m cursed. Just bad luck with the bag. I’ll get a new bag. I’ll have someone else answer the door.”

And the Bulls have to answer the bell for the season making it work on the fly.

Coach Tom Thibodeau, saying it was all part of life in the NBA and he felt they still had the players to win, said Taj Gibson would go back to starting, as he did last season after Tyrus Thomas was hurt.

Thibodeau also talked about Luol Deng playing some power forward, playing Kurt Thomas with Joakim Noah and rookie Omer Asik with Noah. It’s possible the 6-8 James Johnson could see time there, and free agents trying to make the team, like Brian Scalabrine and Chris Richard, may have more opportunities.

For now, Thibodeau said he isn’t seeking additional players and indications from management is the Bulls will stick with what they have for now.

“I really like this team,” said Thibodeau. “We feel we have more than enough to win. Kurt has started a number of games, Taj. We can move Luol to four at times.

“Those things happen,” Thibodeau continued. “There’s nothing you can do. You can make excuses all the time in the NBA, injuries, schedule. It’s probably better now than later in the season. We’re going to look forward to what we have to do and get ready for the season. It’s a resilient group that is tough minded and we’ll be ready for the start of the season.

“The philosophy is not going to change,” said Thibodeau. “We’re still going to be inside/out. There may not be as many postups. We may be more off the dribble to get into the paint. We’ve got other guys who can post up, Luol. Omer can post up. Jo. We’re still going to play inside out.”

Still, it’s a major blow for the team given Boozer was the team’s prized free agent from the summer after LeBron James and Chris Bosh went to Miami. The team was not disappointed as Boozer was motivated, came to camp in great shape—Boozer said being 265 pounds with five percent body fat probably made his fall worse when he tried to brace himself—and seemed an ideal chemistry fit with Noah and fellow former Jazzman Kyle Korver.

The Bulls were looking to Boozer to supply that long missing court balance with his postup play, and by all accounts from players and coaches Boozer was a revelation in camp and playing better than anyone.

Then came Saturday.

“It was kind of like deja vu,” said Gibson of being a starter again under similar circumstances. “As soon as I saw his face (at practice Sunday), I said, ‘No, not again.’ He said he won’t be out too long. I enjoy having him on the team. He helps me all the time. I know the whole team is going to be better having him. Thibs told us we have a lot of guys with a lot of experience the last few years and to be ready to come and play.”

Thibodeau, despite being regarded as a taskmaster/workaholic, hasn’t run a devastating camp and gave the players Saturday off for both sessions.

Then about 6 p.m. Saturday, Boozer called the team to say he’d taken a fall and had some swelling. He came in for x-rays, but the team and Boozer weren’t expecting anything major.

“I tried to brace myself,” explained Boozer. “The hand felt a little numb. If I had landed with my hand open it probably would have been fine. But my right hand got turned over (the break is between the bone by the right wrist and the knuckle of the pinky) and that caused the break. It was a little sore. I went to the bathroom and it was like when you hit your funny bone on your elbow. It took a little longer to come around and when it did I saw a little bump and got it checked.

“This morning it was, ‘Oh crap.’ I’m disappointed,” said Boozer, “but I’ll be attacking rehab, I’ll be staying in great shape, I’ll be around the guys, doing my conditioning and I’ll get the pins out and be back out there. I’m going to be the biggest cheerleader and sideline coach and busting my butt to get healthy.”

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