Tom Thibodeau won’t speculate on status of Luol Deng
BY HERB GOULD firstname.lastname@example.org May 8, 2013 10:09PM
Updated: May 9, 2013 9:57AM
MIAMI — Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau declined Wednesday to assess Luol Deng’s chances of returning for Game 3 against the Miami Heat on Friday at the United Center.
“I don’t want to speculate on that,’’ Thibodeau said. “He did a little shooting [Tuesday], but he’s still not feeling great. [On Wednesday] it was more walking around. We’ll see where he is [Thursday].’’
That doesn’t sound like a player who’s going to play Friday. Just as the side effects of a spinal tap have affected Deng greatly, Kirk Hinrich is having difficulty recovering from a bruised left calf.
It’s not clear when the two injured starters might be able to return. The updates on their situations haven’t been encouraging.
“It’s day-to-day,’’ Thibodeau said. “They have to concentrate on trying to get back. And the guys that are here need to just focus on what we have to get done.’’
1 through 5
It ended up being a non-issue as the Heat drilled the Bulls 115-78 in Game 2 on Wednesday. But going in, there was a lot of talk about LeBron James guarding Nate Robinson. That could happen yet if the right situation arises.
If James, who guarded the Bulls’ John Lucas III at times last year, does end up on Robinson occasionally, both teams insisted it would be no big deal.
“One through five. That’s his nickname,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, indicating he wouldn’t hesitate to do something he’s done before.
It’s more of a situational tactic, but the Bulls said they wouldn’t be caught off-guard.
“That’s not anything new,’’ Thibodeau said. “LeBron will guard all five positions. That’s what makes him so unique. He takes on the challenge. We have to be ready for everything.’’
Joakim Noah didn’t finish the game. He was ejected in the fourth quarter, drawing his second technical for complaining to the officials. Before the Heat could shoot the Noah technicals, an incensed Taj Gibson joined him in the Bulls’ locker room.
But at least Noah looked healthy. The plantar fascitis that hobbled him at the start of the playoffs appears to be under control, thanks to some excellent treatment.
“It’s huge,’’ Thibodeau said. “I don’t know what it is. It’s probably just good fortune. The night before the Brooklyn series, he said he didn’t think he’d be able to play. He’s found something that works. He’s feeling a lot better.’’
With so many potential starters sidelined, Noah not only has played well. He’s often been dominant — especially on the boards.