Preps Talk

Deng's wrist injury could affect 2012-13 season

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Deng's wrist injury could affect 2012-13 season

Watching Luol Deng try to play through a torn ligament in his left wrist, you have to admire his courage and dedication to his team. Question is, did Luol make the right decision by delaying surgery to repair the damage?

Initial reports had Deng needing somewhere between 3-4 months to fully recover and rehab the injury, which probably would have allowed him to return to action in mid-May, around the start of the second round of the playoffs. But Deng knew the Bulls had the look of a title contender and wanted to do whatever he could to contribute.

At times, Deng has looked like his old self, hitting clutch mid-range jump shots and playing his usual lock-down defense. But at other times, hes been reduced to a one-handed player who cant attack the basket like he did early in the season, and is prone to long streaks of cold shooting.

At this point, theres no choice but to play on, and Deng will give it everything he has in upcoming playoff battles against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, and hopefully, Kevin Durant. But then comes another big decision: will Deng still need surgery to repair the damage to his left wrist, and if he does, will he wait until after the Olympics in August?

Deng is the face of basketball in England, where he spent most of his childhood. He desperately wants to represent his country in the upcoming London games, and is unlikely to agree to having any type of surgical procedure before the games are completed.

Theres also the question of whether surgery will be absolutely necessary. Some ligaments will heal on their own over time, and doctors really arent sure how Luols wrist will look after going through the NBA playoffs and the Olympics. But if Deng does need surgery sometime in September, he could easily miss the first two months of the next NBA season, something that has to be troubling to Bulls management.

Nothing has been decided at this point, but it certainly puts even more importance on the Bulls upcoming playoff run. With Derrick Rose battling through an injury-plagued season (and also hoping to play in the Summer Olympics), and Deng possibly needing wrist surgery, the Bulls title window might not be as wide open as it looked just a few months ago.

Miami has looked vulnerable at times, and the West appears wide open, so the Bulls' best chance at a title might be right now. If Rose and Deng were completely healthy, the Bulls would probably enter the postseason as favorites.

But now, injuries could play a critical role in deciding the next NBA champion, and the Bulls All-Stars might still be on the mend when the 2012-13 season tips off in November.

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Rich Central

Head coach: Terrell Alexander

Assistant Coaches: Quincy Woods (OC), Vince Brown (OL), Art Schuldt (ST), Les Hampton (DB), Jerrell Bibbs (DB), Steve Henley (DC), Jeff Spikner (WR), Derrick Goard (LB) William Pass (DL) Chuch Robinson (Skills), Guy Smith (RB) and Shawn Mitchell (Skills)

How they fared in 2017: 8-3 (4-1 Southland Conference). Rich Central made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Olympians defeated Marion then lost to Dunlap in second round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Hillcrest

Sept. 1 vs Lemont

Sept. 7 @ Kaneland

Sept. 14 vs Rich South

Sept. 21 @ Crete-Monee

Sept. 28 vs Rich East

Oct. 5 vs Kankakee

Oct. 12 vs Bloom Township

Oct. 19 vs Christ the King

[MORE: 67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest]

Biggest storyline: The Olympians have reached the IHSA playoffs three consecutive seasons-- the first such streak in Rich Central history. Can they stay on a winning track and make a deeper playoff run this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR/S Mehki Miller (Miami of Ohio) and RB Sean Tyler (Western Michigan)

Biggest holes to fill: The Olympians will need to replace their entire starting offensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Rich Central and head coach Terrell Alexander has brought winning and stability to the Olympians football program.  The 2018 team has some firepower back in the aforementioned Miller and Tyler; however, the development of their underclassmen group this summer will determine just how far this team will go. The ingredients look to be there for another IHSA state playoff caliber team.

Maurice Jones-Drew ranks Jordan Howard in NFL's top-10 RBs

Maurice Jones-Drew ranks Jordan Howard in NFL's top-10 RBs

Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard is entering an interesting season. He has just as good a chance of leading the NFL in rushing as he appears to have at losing reps to Tarik Cohen, a player some analysts feel is a better fit for coach Matt Nagy's system.

It's unfortunate that Howard isn't receiving the kind of praise a player like him deserves. He set the Bears' rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016. In 2017, he became the first running back in franchise history to start a career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

Howard's production suggests he should be the feature back in Chicago's ground game. In fact, according to NFL Network's Maurice Jones-Drew, it's a no-brainer. He recently ranked Howard in the NFL's top-10 running backs.

7. Jordan Howard (Bears)

Even with the plethora of offensive weapons thanks to some offseason additions, the Bears' offense still must run through Howard. After rushing for at least 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons, Howard will be a key piece for first-year head coach Matt Nagy and will have to carry Chicago late in the season if the squad is going to make a playoff push.

Howard will be given every chance to prove he can thrive in Nagy's system early in the season. If he can prove reliable as a receiver, he could match Kareem Hunt's league-leading 1,327 yards last season. He'll have to be effective as a pass-catcher to keep Cohen from threatening for more touches.

Howard deserves this kind of respect for what he's done through two seasons as a pro. He may not be in the NFL's elite class just yet, but if he surpasses 1,200-plus rushing yards and threatens for 10 or more touchdowns again, it'll be an undeniable fact that Howard is a true franchise back.