After a frankly disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons last night, the Chicago Bulls turn their attention to the Toronto Raptors. Unfortunately, they find themselves again missing literally a third of their 15-man roster. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Rip Hamilton and Luol Deng are all expected to miss tomorrow’s game, with Marco Belinelli officially a game-time decision but expected to play.
You may note, if you read that last paragraph closely, that the Bulls’ injured list features four of their five starters from game one of the playoffs last spring. Injuries were always going to be the theme of this season from the moment Rose crumpled to the ground on April 28, 2012, but this is getting ridiculous. Noah returned last night and played well, but apparently suffered a setback. Gibson is still dealing with his knee, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him sit out the rest of the year. Rose and Hamilton have been hurt for a while now. Deng is also sitting in an effort to get healthy for the playoffs. He banged his hip on Friday and missed last night’s game.
So, if you’re keeping track at home, the Bulls have 10 players available tomorrow. One is still hurt (Belinelli), one is Carlos Boozer, one is older than dirt (Nazr Mohammed), two are outright bad (Vladimir Radmanovic and Daequan Cook), one is a rookie (Marquis Teague), one is Kirk Hinrich, one is Nate Robinson and one is Malcolm Thomas, who Tom Thibodeau seems oddly reluctant to play. The other is Jimmy Butler, and he’s great. But, uh, yeesh. This could get ugly.