CHICAGO — Carlos Boozer has already made one return from an injury this season and his second is planned for Monday. According to sources out of Chicago, if the Bulls forward wakes up Monday with no negative reaction in his sprained ankle, he is a go for the Bulls Monday home game against the Kings.
“I feel good,” Boozer said. “I’m just making sure it’s right. The pain is still there. You don’t want to be stupid and come back too soon and have a nagging injury. At the same time, I’d like to go. I’m looking forward to playing. My ankle is feeling better every day.”
Boozer has been reportedly downplaying his injury, but won’t return until he is 100% and his ankle feels great. “Carlos brings a whole different dimension to our team with his scoring ability and what he can do in the post,” Joakim Noah said. “We’re looking forward to having him back.”
Boozer’s injury has show a significantly resilient side of this Bulls squad. When you open the books, the Bulls have only played 18 games at full strength and have gone 14-4 in those games. If Boozer is unable to play, season-long fill in guy Kurt Thomas will get the nod and Taj Gibson will also see significant minutes if himself is healthy. Gibson was seen in a walking boot during practce this weekend. Both of these guys have seen heavy amounts of time as they filled in for the Bulls other big man starter Joakim Noah when Noah went down after having hand surgery in December.
Luol Deng also missed practice this weekend with a bruised left thigh, but his injury is said to be nothing too serious. Tom Thibodeau called Deng’s absence ‘precautionary’.
The big question is Boozer and how well he will play post-injury. Prior to the March 9th injury, Boozer had been criticized for his lack of lift and explosiveness. When Tom Thibodeau was asked of this, he downplayed it in his answer.
“He was getting more attention in the post, double teams and people dropping down on to him,” Thibodeau said. “We have to find different ways to get him a second look. We’re going to a quick swing instead of giving him that second look on a kickout. In transition, we have to search him out more. And we have to do a better job of getting post depth for him, so on his catch, he’s catching it with two feet in the paint and he can go right up with it. The big thing is it gives you a big you can throw the ball into. He’s going to get something good for you. If he’s not scoring, he’s creating easy offense for you. When you get two on the ball, that’s what you want.”
The Bulls host the Sacramento Kings at the United Center Monday.