Bulls Insider

Caruso on track to return from ankle injury vs. Celtics

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Bulls Insider

BOSTON --- Alex Caruso participated in the Chicago Bulls' morning shootaround at TD Garden and said he plans to return from missing two-plus games with a sprained right ankle on Monday night against the Boston Celtics.

"I feel good," Caruso said.

Caruso rolled his ankle when he inadvertently stepped on Ben Simmons' foot in the first quarter of the Bulls' home victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 4. He grimaced his way through a couple possessions before exiting the game and heading straight to the locker room. He had been listed as a gametime decision the last two games that he missed, and coach Billy Donovan said Caruso had no issue running straight ahead but experienced some hesitation when trying to move laterally.

Caruso said following the shootaround that those lateral movement issues have subsided.

He also said as the season reaches the midway point on Monday night that he feels good overall physically. After playing in just 41 games last season, Caruso will play in his 35th on Monday night, missing two with the ankle, one with a lower back contusion and three recently when he suffered a concussion and sprained shoulder after running into the Hawks' De'Andre Hunter.

"I feel fine. Even through the couple games I had to get through the (concussion) protocol, it was my shoulder holding me back more so than my head. Shoulder is good, though," Caruso said. "We've got a great training staff. They do a great job of keeping me on top of what I'm supposed to be doing diligently---pre-prep, post-work stuff. We've had good routines this year. For the most part, except for stepping on Ben's foot and running into De'Andre Hunter unknowingly, it's been a great year for me physically."

 

Caruso is eager to return to a team that is 8-3 over its last 11 games and trying to win the season series against the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics. The Bulls are 2-1 thus far, including a close loss at Boston on Nov. 4.

"I think we're kind of finding that resolve as a team," Caruso said. "Good team spirit. The chemistry has always been great so that has kind of carried us to the point where we're playing good basketball now. When we get down a couple points, it doesn't feel like an avalanche is coming. It feels like, 'OK, we're going to right the ship and take the lead.'"

The Bulls played well defensively earlier this season while the offense sputtered. Now, the offense is carrying the Bulls, who have slipped some defensively. Caruso's imminent return, and whenever Javonte Green does as well, should help the Bulls at the defensive end.

That's why Caruso believes the Bulls have another level to which they can get.

"I don't think any team at this point of the year has peaked. We've showed streaks of both, where we've played well defensively and played well offensively. It's just about putting it all together. Sometimes, that takes time," he said. "Everything this year has been developing and making sure we're playing the right way. I think we know what we're capable of to an extent of execution at both ends."

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