Bulls fright: Injuries piling up for NBA's best team

January 22, 2012

Rip Hamilton. C.J. Watson. Luol Deng. Derrick Rose. Taj Gibson. Joakim Noah. John Lucas III.

That'd be a pretty good starting five and sixth and seventh men for an NBA team. But, unfortunately, it's the list of Bulls players who've lost playing time to injures 18 games into the lockout-shortened 66-game season.

Saturday night alone, the Bulls played without four players.

"Injuries are a part of the game," coach Tom Thibodeau said Saturday. "There's a reason you carry 13 or 14 players. If one guy goes down, the next guy has to step up and be ready.

Here's the rundown of the walking wounded.

Luol Deng

The "glue" man for the Bulls, as Thibodeau calls him, sprained his wrist in Saturday night's win over Charlotte. X-rays were negative, but he's listed as day-to-day.

Taj Gibson

One of the first big men off the bench, Gibson didn't play Saturday night after suffering the dreaded high ankle sprain during Friday's win in Cleveland. "It's sore,'' Gibson said. "It's real sore. Just have to take a slow. (I'm) lucky nothing was broken, nothing torn. That's the bright side.''

Rip Hamilton

The veteran guard, signed in the offseason to start in place of the departed Keith Bogans, has missed 10 games with a groin injury.

John Lucas III

Lucas can thank injures for his increase in playing time this season, but he, too, was relegated to the bench Saturday night with a groin injury.

Joakim Noah

An ankle injury kept Noah on the bench Saturday after it appeared he would play. He was hurt Friday night in Cleveland.

Derrick Rose

The reigning MVP has been hampered by a big toe sprain, or "turf toe" depending on whom you ask. He plans to return to action Monday night. Fingers crossed.

C.J. Watson

Rose's backup missed a stretch of games after dislocating his elbow. He became the starter in Rose's absence. "We've got subs who easily can start for other teams," Carlos Boozer said recently. It's a good thing too.

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