We thought Luol Deng had a sprained left wrist.
We thought he was day-to-day.
Turns out there’s a torn ligament in that wrist and Deng will be missing in action indefinitely.
Said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau: “He’s going to be out for awhile. It’s a pain tolerance thing.”
Added Deng: “I know it’s a bad injury, and it sounds terrible, but I’ll be fine. I really feel like we have a very good chance of doing something special. And I feel like without the surgery I’ll be fine. I just know what I can do with it and what I can’t do. And I really think I’m going to be very effective out there. There’s going to be days when it’s sore.
“It could always be worse. Injuries happen. And this happened in the fourth quarter of a game. But it is what is. It’s just, ‘What do we do from here.’ I’m very confident that I’ll be fine. It’s sore, but the soreness is going down a lot in two days. So every day [I’ll] keep treating it and see if I can get rid of the soreness and just try to be back there as soon as possible.
“I’m definitely going to miss a few games here. I don’t know how many, but I’m very confident the guys will be fine. But as soon as I can be out there, I will be out there.”
Deng has suffered a similar injury before. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes:
“Deng’s rookie season ended and he missed the 2005 playoff run when he opted for surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist. Deng said this injury is the same and he confirmed a Tribune report that Dr. Susan Craig-Scott, who performed that 2005 surgery, is involved in the process.”
Said Deng: “This time around I’m familiar with it. It’s on my left [wrist] which is not like having it on my right. I know how it feels pain-wise. Just trying to get it down to a certain level where I can play again.”
This is a real hit for the Bulls. Lu leads the team in Minutes Per Game (38.3) and is averaging 15.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.6 APG and 1.2 SPG. His Player Efficiency Rating is only 16.4, but he’s third on the team in Win Shares (2.3) behind Carlos Boozer (2.5) and Derrick Rose (2.6). Further, Deng is one of the team’s most versatile defenders.
He’s also something of a stabilizing force when the reserves are in the game. And you can tell Thibs hates to sit him. After all, Lu has logged 40+ minutes in eight of the Bulls’ 18 games and 38+ in five others. Still, the coach thinks the Bulls should be able to get by without Deng for a while.
Said Thibs: “We’ve got more than enough to win with. I thought Ronnie [Brewer] was terrific. [Brian] Scalabrine was terrific. Kyle [Korver] has played big minutes for us. Jimmy [Butler] can play. So we have a roster full of guys who can play. So we’re confident in their abilities.”
I’m okay with Brewer logging more minutes, but Korver is a defensive liability at that position, Butler is a rookie, and Scalabrine is a 12th man who’s not supposed to see playing time unless the team is up or down by 20+ points with a couple minutes to go in the game.
Let’s hope Deng can come back soon. Assuming he can return reasonably healthy that is.