Bulls

Running with the Bulls: More Injury Problems

Running with the Bulls: More Injury Problems

Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010
7:21 P.M.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

When people think of something contagious, its usually the flu. For the Chicago Bulls, however, an epidemic of plantar fasciitis has infected the team this season.

With the flu, you kind of know when youre going to get over it, said Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro. Our situation is very difficult.

Rookie James Johnson is the latest victimjoining Joakim Noah and fellow first-year forward Taj Gibsonand will miss tonights game against New Jersey with a tear in his right foot. Johnson incurred the injury early in Thursdays loss to Miami, but returned to action later in the contest, although he missed Fridays practice.

I just went out there and tried to warm up on his right foot. It wasnt doing so well, said Johnson, who attributed adrenaline to being able to continue to play Thursday night. It was hurt on Thursday, but I love my teammates and Im going to ride with them, no matter what. Im not going to let a little pain stop me. No doctor told me what happened to it so as far as I know, I was good to go and Im going to keep fighting with my dudes as long as I can.

Thats just part of the game. Youre into the game, youre not really worried about pain, youre just worried about winning, Johnson added, before detailing the injury. Ive felt it earlier in the season, but it didnt really faze me. I knew I could play through it. It wasnt anything that was going to keep me out or get massive treatment, noted Johnson.

I want to go out there and give 100 percent while Im out there and I know I cant do that tonight.

Reserve guard Jannero Pargo will start in Johnsons placeJohnson was already starting as a replacement for injured small forward Luol Dengas Del Negro continues to opt for a three-guard look with limited bodies in the frontcourt on the roster. Moving forward, the unpredictability of Johnsons injury, as well as Joakim Noahs return from his own plantar fasciitis issues, inhibits his ability to plan for upcoming matchups.

No one has any idea right now how his foot is going to react. He tried to loosen up prior to tonights game and was in too much pain, said Del Negro. Its partially torn so even if hes able to go, its going to be on a limited minutes basis

Theres a possibility thats hes going be out for a little bit just because he partially tore it, he continued. He came back and played a little bit, which is encouraging, but maybe it swelled up after the game.

For him to even try and go through exercises, I was surprised. Its a very painful injury.

our situation is very difficult

As for Noah, Johnsons comrade-in-feet, is expected to see 20 minutes of action this evening, as he continues to recover from his own bout with the foot ailment, with increasing playing time each period. However, Del Negro was unsure whether that pattern would hold for tomorrows game at Detroit.

I dont know if hes medically cleared. Really what we do is see how he feels after each game, explained Del Negro. If hes finetheres no swelling and hes not changing his stride or his gait, all thatthen we increase his minutes. If hes really sore, then we back it off. The back-to-back might be a little bit of a challenge, but well make that decision tomorrow before the game.

Regarding tonights game, Del Negro focused on the significance, regardless of his ailing roster.

A lot of question marks right now, but we still have a game to play. We have to have a sense of urgency tonight, no matter whos playing and if were good enough, well win, said Del Negro. We dont really have a small forward with Luol and James being out so well just have to make do with a smaller lineup at times. We can play Hak Hakim Warrick and go a little bit bigger. Well just have to mix and match.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.