Pau Gasol could return to the Bulls lineup tonight after missing four games with swelling in his right knee, with coach Fred Hoiberg calling him a game time decision against the Sacramento Kings.
If he does return, Gasol will be under a minute restriction and officially listed as “questionable” on the Bulls’ injury report.
“We’ll be careful with him if he does play,” Hoiberg said. “He got a really good workout in yesterday, played some live two-on-two. And he responded well, didn’t have any swelling or pain in his knee. So we’ll make a decision on tonight and see how he responded to shootaround.”
[Tonight on CSN, Live Extra: Bulls aim for third straight win vs. Kings]
Considering the Kings’ main threat is center DeMarcus Cousins, they’ll need all hands on deck to contain the most versatile big in the game. Cousins put up 24 and 20 against the New York Knicks Sunday night.
“He can shoot the 3. He has a great crossover dribble. He’s a good passer, excellent rebounder and unbelievable size and mobility,” Hoiberg said. “He’s a very tough cover for anybody one-on-one.”
If Gasol can’t go, Cristiano Felicio will see more time in prime time. He made his first start Saturday night and was more than competent against Jazz center Rudy Gobert, being active enough on both ends to prevent Gobert from dominating early and helping set a tone as the Bulls lead wire to wire for their second straight win.
Cousins, though, is a different animal.
“The big thing for Cris is just getting the experience,” Hoiberg said. “Getting out there in the starting lineup, and he showed no fear. He stepped out and hit a jump shot, he had a great drive to the rim in the second half. People see potential in Cris with the way he moves, his defensive abilities because of his feet. He has good instincts.”
“I think with Pau out the lineup, we needed somebody with size to give us good minutes and Cris gave us critical time on the floor in the last two games.”