Bulls

Bulls: No structural damage on Derrick Rose's knee; Noah still not ready

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Bulls: No structural damage on Derrick Rose's knee; Noah still not ready

The sigh of relief was expected but welcomed nonetheless when Derrick Rose’s MRI showed no structural damage in his right knee, an action that seemed to be more precautionary than anything.

Rose has missed the last three games with hamstring soreness and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said the point guard will be a game-time decision Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I think more than anything, it was ruling something out with the soreness that he had,” Hoiberg said. “Like we talked about yesterday, the hamstring feels a lot better. The swelling in the knee has gone down. He had a little bit of soreness and weakness when he did some of the testing before the game. So we took a cautious approach. Tomorrow, we’ll see how he reacts overnight and then see how he is in the morning.”

Rose is coming off some of his most efficient stretch of basketball this season, which looks to play a part in why the Bulls are being so openly cautious about the injury. The injury wasn’t announced until gametime right before the Bulls played the Indiana Pacers on New Year’s Day, and when addressing the media at shootaround Rose made no mention of the injury.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Hoiberg said Rose went through practice Monday, although there wasn’t a lot of activity following Sunday’s thrilling win over the Toronto Raptors.

Although Rose appears to be on the mend, Joakim Noah’s recovery from a slight left shoulder tear isn’t as optimistic as Hoiberg believed a few days ago. The thought was Noah would be re-evaluated and could make his way back, but there’s still concern he would do further damage if he’s not fully recovered.

“Jo is still not ready. We’re still not comfortable with Jo,” Hoiberg said. “If he gets his arm in a vulnerable position, it could cause some . . . I don’t know if damage but he’s just not quite ready is what I’m trying to say.”

The only thing the Bulls determined from the re-evaluation was that Noah won’t need surgery on the shoulder, which popped out and back in against the Brooklyn Nets on December 21.

“He’s getting evaluated. It’s daily now,” Hoiberg said. “I guess the thing he was going to look at after the two weeks is if it was going to take surgery to repair it. And it’s definitely not going to take that.”

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

It's been a whirlwind of a summer for point guard Tyler Ulis, but he finally feels like he's found a home. Literally.

The 5-foot-9 point guard was cut by the Suns in late June, latched on with a training camp invite by the Warriors and was subsequently waived on Friday. It was then that Ulis, working out in California, received a call from his agent. He had been claimed on waivers by the Chicago Bulls. His hometown Bulls.

"I grew up watching (the Bulls)," he said after his first practice on Tuesday. "Growing up in this city, you always want to be a Bull and you’re always willing and hoping that you’ll be here one day...I'm home now. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it."

Ulis is back in Chicago for the first time since he was breaking records for Marian Catholic High School. Ulis became a five-star recruit for the Spartans and in 2014 signed on as the next point guard in the long line of successful floor generals under John Calipari and Kentucky.

Ulis backed up the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, as a freshman but saw his role increase as a sophomore. He blossomed, earning Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the SEC. Only Anthony Davis had ever earned both honors in a single season.

He declared for the 2016 NBA Draft with hopes of becoming a first-round pick. But unlike the Calipari point guards before him, Ulis slipped all the way down to the second round before the Phoenix Suns scooped him up with the 34th pick.

"Honestly I really did think (the Bulls) were going to draft me," Ulis said on Tuesday when recalling the 2016 NBA Draft. The Bulls took Denzel Valentine with the 14th pick. "But I'm here now so that's all that matters."

In 132 games, Ulis averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 assists in 21.1 minutes. He started 58 of those games, and while his shooting left plenty to be desired he handled the offense well and brought that same pesky defense he showed off at Kentucky. It wasn't enough, even for the guard-deprived Suns. They released Ulis before free agency this summer - which ruffled the feathers of franchise guard Devin Booker - in a rather unexpected move.

"My Mom always taught me (to) never expect anything," Ulis said of his release from the Suns. "When you're on a losing team like that anything can happen. I feel like I showed I could play at this level but they went a different way."

The Suns' loss - they may resort to starting 38-year-old Jamal Crawford at point guard this year - could be the Bulls' gain. Expectations should be harnessed for Ulis, especially with him joining the roster this late in the preseason, but the Bulls, like Phoenix, have question marks at the point.

Kris Dunn is entrenched as the starter, but Cameron Payne struggled mightily in the preseason and Ryan Arcidiacono doesn't project as a contributor. That leaves an opening for Ulis to potentially fill on the second unit, and apparently he's making a statement early in practice.

"Tyler had a real good practice," Fred Hoiberg said. "I think I think he changes the pace when he’s out there on the floor. He picks up full-court, he gets up underneath you. He can make a shot. He’s got good vision and can make a play with the ball in his hand. So I was very impressed with his first workout."

Ulis is working on a 45-day two-way contract, so it's unknown how much he'll contribute. He could be shuttled back and forth between Chicago and the Windy City Bulls, but there's certainly an opportunity for him to stick. He'll be playing catch-up and learning on the go, but doing so in his hometown wth friends and family around him for support will work to his advantage.

"Being a smaller guard growing up in a big man’s sport, you get looked over. So I’m the underdog," he said. "And I feel like this team is an underdog, so we should all be excited to get the season started and prove people wrong."