Just when injuries didn’t look like they could get any worse for the Chicago Bulls (can we still call them the Baby Bulls? No?), Derrick Rose collided with Dwight Howard during tonight’s game against Orlando with 55 seconds left in the first quarter. Rose did not return to the game that resulted in a 111-82 loss for the Bulls. He was taken to the locker room for X-rays that they revealed a sprain. This is the second time this season that Rose and Howard have collided with the smaller Rose bearing the brunt of the damage. The first collision resulted in a bruised hip. Hopefully, the injury doesn’t linger as the Bulls are in the middle of a tight and heated battle for a playoff spot in the East.
Luol Deng did not suit up for the game against the Magic and is not expected to play in the second game of their back-to-backs in Miami on Friday. Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro (who still has a job despite rampant speculation that he will be fired) said that Deng is, “day-to-day,” with a strained calf.
These two injuries add to the misfortune that the Bulls have already endured with Joakim Noah being sidelined with plantar fasciitis in his left foot (as we have written about in a previous entry). The Bulls need all the bodies they can muster at this point. Both Brad Miller and young standout Taj Gibson are walking wounded with Miller nursing a thumb injury and Gibson also beleaguered by plantar fasciitis.
In addition, they lost scorers Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons to trades with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Charlotte Bobcats. Salmons was shipped off for the expiring contracts of Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander. Thomas was traded for veteran Flip Murray, former Texas A&M star Acie Law and a protected, first-round draft pick. Both Salmons and Thomas have helped position their respective teams for the playoffs.
To maintain any hope of making the playoffs, the Bulls will need to be at full strength. After losing to Orlando tonight, the Bulls are 1.5 games behind the Heat, Bobcats, and Raptors and sit in ninth place in the East. If Derrick Rose is out for the foreseeable future, the Bulls can consider their postseason prospects lost and will only have the memory of last year’s playoff series with the Celtics to keep them company through the post season.