Chicago Sun-Times

September 2009 Archives

Bulls cancel evening practice

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Wednesday was supposed to be the last day of two-a-days for the Bulls, but coach Vinny Del Negro decided to cancel the evening session. Instead, the team had a longer morning practice.

"I thought the guys gave great effort for four straight days with double sessions," Del Negro said. "I just thought we'd have one long practice today, and we got a lot out of it."

Except for backup center Aaron Gray, who went down Tuesday with a stress fracture in his lower left leg, the Bulls made it through the four days of double sessions healthy.

"I feel bad for Aaron; he's had a productive summer," Del Negro said. "We hate to lose him and it would have been a great time for him to get some experience under his belt in the exhibition season. But you can't control the injuries and now he just has to condition himself and try to stay in the best shape he can."

Gray is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks, so he's likely to miss the first month of the regular season.

Gray out 6-8 weeks

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The Bulls suffered their first significant injury of training camp Tuesday as backup center Aaron Gray went down with a stress fracture of the lower left leg. He is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks, which means he'll miss the first month of the regular season.

"We're disappointed because Aaron came into camp in good shape and had been playing well," general manager Gar Forman said.

Gray, a 7-foot, 270-pounder, was re-signed last week to a one-year deal for a little more than $1 million.

Where's the Deng love?

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We're still a month away from the regular-season opener, people, and I'm stunned by the negativity toward Luol Deng.

I understand he missed the final 2 1/2 months of the regular season and the playoffs with an injury, but it's not as if he was sitting out with a hang nail. He had a stress fracture in his shin, and that's not something anyone can (or should) play through.

Injuries are a part of the game and he wasn't physically able to go at the end of last season. Listening to some of the comments, though, it's like he's always hurt and never plays. Yes, he's been hurt at times, but he played 63 games two years ago, 82 games the year before that and 78 games the year before that.

I also understand Deng wasn't playing well before he was injured. He was struggling to adjust to his new role under Vinny Del Negro and didn't appear comfortable in the offense.

But it would be ridiculous to label him a bust and say the Bulls totally blew it by signing him to a $71 million contract. Deng still is only 24 years old and there's no reason he can't reclaim the form of three years ago when he averaged 18.8 points on 51.7 percent shooting.

Right, people?

James returns to court, sort of

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After missing virtually all of last season with a ruptured right Achilles, Jerome James has attended all of the team's practices so far. But the 7-1 center, who was acquired in February last season from the New York Knicks, still is a long way from being able to be a factor on the court.

"Obviously, he's a long ways away in terms of his conditioning, but he's working out and he's healthy," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He hasn't played basketball for a while and that makes it difficult. But he's been doing his work and we'll just try and monitor that as we go along."

James has only played in four games the last two seasons because of injury and the inactivity hasn't been good for his waistline. He probably needs to drop at least 25-30 pounds before he can be a contributor on the practice floor.

But if he stays healthy and gets in condition, perhaps James could be a factor in the second half of the season in practice and as an extra big body off the bench. He certainly will be motivated to show he can play because his contract expires after this season.

Hinrich returns to court

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After sitting out Sunday's morning workout with a sore hamstring, guard Kirk Hinrich participated in about half of Sunday's evening practice.

Coach Vinny Del Negro said the injury isn't a concern and he held Hinrich out of the morning session as a precaution.

Hinrich sits out practice

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Guard Kirk Hinrich sat out this morning's practice with a sore hamstring, but coach Vinny Del Negro said he isn't concerned.

"Kirk, his hamstring was a little sore and we sat him out, but Kirk's probably the last guy I'm worried about at this time," Del Negro said. "He's in shape; he'll be ready. I just sat him out. We'll see how he is tonight and maybe practice [him] a little bit or sit him out.

"But he's in such good condition and knows exactly what we want to do. We want to get him out there, but he's probably the guy I'm worried about least."

The Bulls have scheduled two practices a day for the first five days of training camp.

Rose addresses SAT -- again

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For the second straight day, Derrick Rose was asked about the allegation that someone took the SAT exam for him during his senior year of high school. Again, Rose denied any wrong doing and said he took the exam himself.

"I'm not worried about that," he said. "Right now, I'm worried about the season. I just want to put that behind me."

The only thing new Saturday was Rose finally explained why he took the exam in Detroit.

"My aunt stays out there and I was staying with her," he said.

First practice goes fine

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The Bulls took the court this morning for the first practice of training camp and afterward everyone rated it a very productive session.

Luol Deng, who missed the final 2 1/2 months of the regular season and the playoffs with a stress fracture of the lower right leg, participated in the workout and said he felt fine.

"It felt good to be out there," he said. "It's a little sore, but they told me that it would be sore. We just have to monitor it."

Deng planned to participate in the second session tonight.

Bulls tickets on sale next Friday

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With opening night just a month away, the Bulls will begin selling individual tickets for all home games on Friday, Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at Bulls.com, 1-800-4NBA-TIX, the United Center box office and Ticketmaster.

The Bulls open the season on Thursday, Oct. 29 against the San Antonio Spurs in the UC.

Gray re-signs

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The Bulls completed their offseason moves on Tuesday by re-signing backup center Aaron Gray to a one-year contract for roughly $1 million.

Gray, who had been a restricted free agent, is entering his third season in the NBA after averaging 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 117 games during his first two seasons.

10 Bulls questions to consider as camp opens

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Now that the Bulls are getting set to open training camp, here are 10 questions surrounding the team following a quiet offseason:

1. How will the Bulls manage without leading-scoring Ben Gordon, who signed with the Detroit Pistons?

2. Will the three-guard rotation of Derrick Rose, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich improve the defense and make up for the loss of Gordon's offense?

3. Will Rose continue to progress and become the team's leader following the controversies of the spring and summer?

4. Is Luol Deng healthy after missing the final 2½ months of the regular season and the playoffs last season, and is he ready to live up to the big contract he signed in the summer of 2008?

5. Now that he has a year's experience, is Vinny Del Negro the right coach to lead the Bulls to the next level?

6. Can the Bulls count on Joakim Noah to be the player he was in the second half and the playoffs last season for a full season?

7. Are the Bulls in better position now to execute their big free-agent plans than they were earlier this decade?

8. After showing flashes of solid play last season, is Tyrus Thomas finally ready to live up to his promise?

9. Will rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson be able to contribute and add to the frontcourt depth?

10. The Bulls should be a playoff team, but can they move up enough in the Eastern Conference to gain home-court advantage in the first round?

Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

Training camp approaches

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The season is almost here.

The Bulls will kick off training camp with Media Day on Friday, Sept. 25 and their practice will be the following day at 10 a.m. The Bulls will hold two practices each day through Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Their first of eight preseason games is Friday, Oct. 2 at Indiana. After that game, the Bulls travel to London and will face the Utah Jazz there on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Bulls not interested in Arroyo

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If you thought the Bulls signing Carlos Arroyo didn't make sense, you're not alone. The Bulls agree with you.

A Bulls source said Tuesday that there was "no truth at all" to a report in a Puerto Rican newspaper over the weekend that the veteran point guard was close to signing a one year, $1 million contract with the Bulls.

The Bulls are deep at the position with Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Lindsay Hunter and Jannero Pargo capable of playing there.

There is a feeling that the report came from the agent for Arroyo as a way to drum up interest for his client.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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