Bulls’ Luol Deng likely to be back in action Monday
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com January 25, 2013 11:17PM
The facts: 6, Ch. 9, 1000-AM.
Updated: February 27, 2013 6:20AM
There seems to be a more defined timetable for Bulls forward Luol Deng to return from his injured right hamstring beyond the ‘‘day-to-day’’ projections that coach Tom Thibodeau has been issuing for the last week.
Deng missed his fourth consecutive game Friday night but did participate in the morning shootaround. The hope is he could possibly be back for Saturday’s game in Washington, D.C.
Realistically, Monday — when the Bulls host the Charlotte Bobcats — would be more likely.
‘‘It’s all right,’’ Deng said. ‘‘It’s getting better. It’s a week [Friday], so hopefully I’m back soon. It could be longer. I just hope it’s not too long.’’
Assuming he’s healthy, Deng will again represent the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game in a couple of weeks, along with teammate Joakim Noah.
While the first time was special because it affirmed Deng’s versatility, a second consecutive All-Star appearance shows staying power.
‘‘It’s exciting to do it again,’’ Deng said. ‘‘Consistency is a big part of what I want to be and what I do. I’m just glad I’ve had the chance to do it again. The way we’ve been playing and the coaching staff we’ve had the last three years, the teammates, it says a lot. I don’t think I would get it if we don’t have the record we have. It says a lot about our team.
‘‘I didn’t get it the first year with Coach Thibs, but I felt I had a great year that year. The system is perfect. It allows me to show a lot more than scoring. I can show a lot of people what I can do. To do it again shows you’re consistent. That’s over with, and you go to the next challenge.’’
With Deng sidelined, Jimmy Butler was again given the starting nod Friday.
The daily Derrick
Thibodeau confirmed that guard Derrick Rose continued to go through full practices this week. But considering three of those practices were shootarounds, it’s not as if the 2011 MVP has been getting a full dose of contact to test the surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Noah was asked sarcastically whether he’d enter the dunk contest during All-Star weekend.
‘‘No, tip-in contest,’’ he said.
Praise for Thibs
Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson played under Thibodeau when Thibodeau was an assistant in Houston and again in New York.
So Jackson isn’t the least bit surprised at how well the Bulls have done under him.
‘‘I have a tremendous amount of respect for him,’’ Jackson said. ‘‘A hard worker, but he’s the same guy today that he was back then. It’s no accident that he’s having the success that he’s having.’’