Luol Deng missed Saturday night’s game against the Pistons with a sore left Achilles, head coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed before tip-off.
Deng’s status is listed as day-to-day, and it’s not believed to be anything serious. After averaging 48.5 minutes per game over the last two contests thanks to logging 56 minutes in a triple-overtime loss to New Orleans, the fact that this is a soft place in the schedule for Chicago likely played a factor in Deng getting a much-needed night off.
“I don’t know [when Deng will return], other than what Fred [Tedeschi, the Bulls’ head athletic trainer] tells me,” Thibodeau said. “He was unsure this morning. He had tightness, they wanted to work on him and he said it could be better in a couple days.”
The coach also said the All-Star small forward has been playing with the injury since the team’s lone win on the “Circus Trip,” ironically at Detroit, Nov. 27.
“Actually, he said he thinks he did it in the previous Detroit game and he just had the tightness, and it hasn’t gone away,” Thibodeau said. “He had some swelling and he’s trying to get that down.”
Deng is once again playing heavy minutes for the Bulls, a combination of Thibodeau’s style to ride his best guys, as well as the injuries the team has faced making it a necessity to do so.
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As always, Deng has contributed when called upon, and has posted averages of 19.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 38.6 minutes per game. He’s also scored at least 20 points in each of his team’s last six contests.