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News  


Injured Bull inflicts pain on the Bucks


PhilBoxing.com




WITH a torn ligament on his left wrist, Luol Deng was advised by doctors to undergo surgery or rest 4 to 6 weeks before returning to the hardcourt.

But Deng resents the idea of just sitting and watching while the Chicago Bulls make a run at this year's NBA title. So the 6-foot-9, 220-pound small forward chose rest over the knife, before springing to action sooner than planned.

Seven games as a bystander seemed like an eternity for Deng, who eagerly returned to the starting lineup Saturday night when the Bulls traveled to the Bradley Center in nearby Milwaukee.

The swell in his aching wrist has subsided, but putting in back to work clearly hurt. At night's end, however, it was the lowly 10-13 Bucks who felt more pain as the Deng-inspired Bulls sprinted out of Wisconsin with a 113-90 victory that improved their Eastern Conference-leading record to 20-6.

Deng, 26, played for 41 minutes and scored 21 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field. He grabbed 9 rebounds, sank 3-of-7 triples, and showed a little bit of rust with 3 turnovers. But Deng, who hasn't ruled out surgery, felt some obvious pain, particularly in the fourth quarter where he grimaced while picking himself up from a fall.

"I felt a little hesitant early. I was a little worried about getting bumped. I missed those layups, but I took a hit in the fourth quarter so it's fine. This is going to be the pain. I can't make it any worse. I felt it and I'm going to feel it. As the game went on, I forgot about it," Deng told the Chicago Tribune.

The Bucks also forgot something --- play defense.

In surrendering 113 points, the Bucks allowed the Bulls to shoot 48 of 90 from the field (53.3 percent) and 14 of 20 from 3-point range (46.7 percent). They also got hammered off the boards, 53-39.

Derrick Rose was, as usual, sensational. The reigning MVP had 26 points and 7 rebounds. And he had 13 assists against zero turnovers. Ex-Bull Drew Gooden had a team-high of 24 for the Bucks, who made only 37 of 93 shots (39.8 percent).

The Duke University alum will go through continuing rehab to strenthen his weak limb, but he vows to soldier on. "I'm going to continue the same. I'm going to practice and forget about it. I don't even want to talk about it. I just want to play."

The Bulls are happy to oblige. Deng, after all, is their next best player behind Rose. In 19 games played this season, Deng is averaging 16.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per. Versatile as baking soda, he does wonders on both ends of the floor.

As injuries go, the pain in Deng's left wrist could get worse before it gets better. And it might sideline him for an extended period of time.

But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Deng's performance was encouraging. "I can't say enough about him. He did everything -- played defense, rebounded, made shots, made us function well as a team."

In the midst of a brutal 16-day, 9-game road trip, the Bulls travel to New Jersey for a Monday night game. The hope is that Deng can punish the Nets the way he punished the Bucks (HDS)



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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