Bulls

Flips, tilts of Bears' draft board tell all

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Flips, tilts of Bears' draft board tell all

The NFL is dealing with a burgeoning tally of lawsuits over injuries, from concussions on down. One league personnel executive told CSNChicago.com that injuries are the true bane of a draft, because performance can be seen whereas injuries often cant.

A missed practice in college -- cause for concern or an isolated sick day?

Those kinds of questions will be among the most closely examined by the Bears and every other franchise this week leading up to the draft. Indeed, those issues already have been.

The Bears are among teams plagued by injuries to high-round draft choices (tackles Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams, end Dan Bazuin, defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, others).

They have their own way of weighing the information that can either be stamped no problem or drop a player off a draft board entirely.

We call them tilts and flips, GM Phil Emery said on Tuesday. We'll tilt a player on the board. We'll turn his card going south a little bit if they're in that risk area. And usually we move those players to the right of the column. The players that are clean are to the left.

We'll flip them all the way over if the risk is too high -- if their medical grade puts them in a situation we feel the risk is too high. Meaning, we would not pick them. And if they're tilted, we're going to have a lot of discussion before we would move forward with that player.

Head cases

Concussions have become featured cases, both because of their severity and long-term potential impact on players careers and lives. The league is paying more attention to them.

So are the Bears. They have increased the depth of their research, looking in seeming out-of-the-way conversations for leads.

Emery mentioned specifically the post-game comments of coaches regarding players, the late-week comments on why perhaps a player was playing or not or was a question, and other places in the college week.

From there they can sometimes surprise a prospect.

So digging those out, entering them into our database, we can ask the right questions of the player when we interview him, Emery said. When we get him at an all-star game and can say, hey, looks like you had a head injury and you were held out the first quarter.

Theyll say, whered you get that? And then say, Yeah, I had a concussion...

Going back a little bit about the medical research, that's part of our research. Anytime a head injury, conked out of the game, a headache, any of those words being used, we get it into our injury incident report so that our physicians call follow it up with the proper questions or the proper screening and medical test for that situation.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls dance with Warriors

Is there any better way to break in your new Black Friday television than Bulls-Warriors tonight? We think not. Coverage starts at 9 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live, and the game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports app

Here are three things to keep your eye on: 

1. Not the score. Let's be honest: the Bulls probably won't sneak out a win at the Oracle. In fact, ESPN's matchup predictor only gives Fred Hoiberg's young squad a 2.9 percent chance to come up victorious. UIC has three times better odds against juggernaut Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday, in case you needed some context.  

With the talent gap in mind, though, it will be important for the Bulls to come out with high energy. The Warriors will likely take the contest lightly in the first half, so starting off strong reflects well on the coaching staff and starters. Stay within 10 points by the half, and that's considered a massive triumph. 

2. Lauri Markkanen vs. Draymond Green? Assuming the Dubs start out with Green on Markkanen, this will be rookie's biggest test of the season. Green is an elite defender, capable of wrecking gameplans from the tip. He's physical, quick and athletic. 

Markkanen is coming off two duds on the West Coast trip, but his aggressiveness hasn't wavered. It'll be important for him to continue to attack even with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year hounding him. 

3. Steph, KD and Klay doin' work. The Bulls offense hasn't exactly been a thing of beauty through the first 16 games. Their offensive rating is a brutal 94.4, ranked last in the NBA. Golden State, on the other hand, sits at the top with a rating of 113.1. 

Take some time to admire the skills of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson because when it comes to working cohesively on offense, they've set the gold standard. 

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.