Chicago Sun-Times

November 2009 Archives

Hinrich out 1-2 weeks

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After Kirk Hinrich's injured left thumb was examined by a trio of doctors on Monday morning, the Bulls announced that the veteran guard will miss 1-2 weeks.

Hinrich, who suffered the injury Wednesday during a practice session, was examined by team physician Brian Cole and hand specialists Dr. John Fernandez and Dr. Marc Cohen of Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center. Their examination confirmed the earlier diagnosis of a sprained thumb.

Hinrich relieved injury not a repeat from last season

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Before undergoing an MRI on Friday, Kirk Hinrich was worried that he suffered another thumb injury that would require surgery and put him on the shelf for a couple of months.

But the veteran guard was relieved to learn the current injury is just a sprained thumb and not a repeat of the torn ligament that required surgery on his right thumb last November.

Now it's a matter of how quickly the injury will improve.

"Today it was a little bit better, but it's still very sore," Hinrich said following Sunday's practice. "I wear this splint just to keep it from moving, because pretty much any movement it's very sore. I have trouble gripping anything, like tying my shoes, opening bottles or anything like that."

He has an appointment with a specialist on Monday and it's doubtful he will play in that night's game at Milwaukee. But Hinrich won't declare himself out just yet.

"If it feel better and I feel like I can give it a go, I'm gonna try and play," he said. "There's no question I want to be back as soon as I can."

Hinrich status still uncertain

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Kirk Hinrich didn't practice Saturday because of a sprained left thumb. Exactly how long the veteran guard will be sidelined is unclear at this point.

"There's a mild to moderate sprain of the ligament in his thumb, so he's gonna see the specialist on Monday and then we'll have a better evaluation," coach Vinny Del Negro said.

When asked if Hinrich was definitely out of Monday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Del Negro said: "Not definitely. We'll see what the doctor says on Monday and get the evaluation and see how [Hinrich] feels."

Hinrich suffered the injury during practice Wednesday in Portland. He was examined on Friday by a team physician and the initial diagnosis is the ligament is still attached.

He missed 31 games last season with a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery.

Miller off to slow start

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Brad Miller's season statistics aren't that bad. He's averaging eight points and 4.5 rebounds in a little more than 22 minutes. The problem for the Bulls is Miller has had too many games where he's contributed virtually nothing.

After putting up good numbers in the first two games of the current road trip against the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers, Miller didn't do much in the last two games. Against the Denver Nuggets, he had two points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. Against the Portland Trail Blazers, he had two points and one rebound in 15 minutes.

To be successful, especially on the road, the Bulls need Miller to produce off the bench.

Bulls look to bounce back at Portland

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Coming off of two blowout losses, the last place the Bulls probably would want to visit is the Rose Garden in Portland. That was the site of their worst defeat last season, a 116-74 loss to the Trail Blazers.

I asked Derrick Rose after Monday morning's shootaround if he recalled that game last November.

"I remember. Trust me, I remember," he said. "They're a tough team playing up in here and their fans are crazy. It's gonna be fun playing them up in here."

Hopefully, it'll be more fun than last year's visit.

Bulls play dead in Denver in fourth quarter

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Unlike Tom Petty, the Bulls will back down - at least they did Saturday in Denver.

Losing to the Nuggets in the Pepsi Center is noting to be ashamed of. It's one of the toughest arenas in the NBA, and the Nuggets are a tough matchup with their size and athleticism.

But what is disturbing about the Bulls' 112-93 loss Saturday night was the ease in which they gave in once the Nuggets asserted themselves.

"You have to continue to bring the effort, energy and professionalism, and I didn't think we did that in the second half," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "That's what is most disappointing.

I didn't like our intensity or effort. Our rotations were slow. Once they got on a little bit of a roll, we had no answer for them offensively. Our ball movement wasn't nearly as good the second half. They picked their defense up and we let their pressure bother us."

Amazingly, the Bulls controlled this game for much of the first half and led by as many as 14 points. Like any good team playing at home, the Nuggets made a run - like all good teams do - and the Bulls wilted under the pressure.

"Embarrassing," Derrick Rose said. "We can't give up. We have to run back, play defense. I'm not calling anybody out; we were all out there. Towards the end we were acting lackadaisical out there."

Gray rejoins Bulls

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Just a few days after being hospitalized because of fluid in his right knee, backup center Aaron Gray rejoined the Bulls Friday night in Denver and attended Saturday morning's shootaround.

"I think it was just an infection in the knee," Gray said. "The way it was explained to me, we could wait and let it heal itself or we could take care of it in one shot. So they admitted me to the hospital and got me right into an IV with antibiotics. It's cleared up real nicely."
The infection flared up while Gray already was out with a stress fracture of the lower left leg. The knee problem interrupted his rehabilitation as he spent a couple of days in the hospital before being released Tuesday night.

"It's tough; it's a setback. Obviously not one I can afford right now," he said. "It's just something I'm gonna have to work through and get back as soon as possible to help this team.

"I got out a little bit today and ran around, ran through some plays and felt real good."

When Gray might be ready to play a game remains to be seen, but he's hopefully to return to practice soon.

"Hopefully, by the end of this trip I'll be back to full practicing," he said. "It's gonna be how it feels and the pain tolerance, but we're real optimistic right now and hopefully I'll be back soon."

Bulls-Lakers postgame quotes

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Because the Bulls' 108-93 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers ended so late -- thanks TNT -- I wasn't able to get much of the postgame reaction in the game story. Here are some interesting quotes from the Bulls' locker room.

Center Joakim Noah (12 points, 15 rebounds) on the game:

"It's unbelievable. There's nobody you can really help off of. They just made it look really easy. It was like an exhibition out there tonight. It felt like a varsity team compared with a JV team.

"I mean, I was tired as hell and I'm looking around the court and nobody from the Lakers even broke a sweat.

"We just have to get better. It's humbling, but at the same time it's a learning experience."

Coach Vinny Del Negro on the Lakers' size now Pau Gasol has returned to join fellow 7-footer Andrew Bynum in the lineup:

"It's one thing to be tall and another thing to be tall and talented. They've got both, so that helps."

Del Negro on John Salmons' scoreless second half:

"He got in foul trouble, and he's been playing such heavy minutes, I didn't think it was smart to put him back in there at the end."

Del Negro on Noah:

"He was still solid, he gave us great effort, but they're long. Without Tyrus, this is one of those games where Tyrus could have helped us with his length and athleticism. I thought Jo battled and played well."

Bulls will have team focus on Kobe

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While certain guys will get more opportunities, nearly every Bulls player will get a chance to guard Lakers star Kobe Bryant at some point tonight.

That much was clear when coach Vinny Del Negro was asked following the team's shootaround at Staples Center who would get a shot at guarding Bryant.

"It'll be John [Salmons], Kirk [Hinrich], Luol [Deng], team," Del Negro said. "You're not gonna stop Kobe one-on-one. It's team defense and sometimes even double and triple teams don't help.

"We've got to get on the glass, play at the right tempo. He's gonna have the ball a lot, but if you pay too much attention to him, [Andrew] Bynum can kill you, [Pau] Gasol, [Lamar] Odom, [Ron] Artest, the list goes on. That's what makes Kobe so effective: he has so much around him."

Gibson's homecoming

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The Bulls held Wednesday's practice on the USC campus, so the whole day was a homecoming for rookie Taj Gibson, who played three seasons for the Trojans.

Gibson was delighted to be back, but the trip also provided some prime fodder for the veterans to use against him.

The ribbing began in the locker room in Sacramento on Tuesday following the Bulls' 101-87 win over the Kings when someone said: "Taj, when we get to USC, we'll see how big you really are there."

At the time, only Gibson knew how prophetic that statement would prove to be.

The Galen Center, USC's new state-of-the-art basketball arena, has two practice courts. One is used by the men's team and has huge, larger-than-life photo banners of players hanging high on all four walls, including three of Gibson. The other gym is virtually identical except it doesn't have any photos.

"They didn't have a clue about the pictures and I was like when we were walking in the building, 'Please don't go in the big gym,'" Gibson said after practice. "When we went in here, I was like, 'Oh, no.'"

The players and coaches were barely through the door when they noticed all photos of Gibson - including a 10-by-40 foot banner of him celebrating in the crowd with fans following one game.

"As soon as we got in here, everyone started," he said.

The ribbing continued throughout the practice session, and some dubbed the three-year-old Galen Center as the house that Taj built.

It's only been a few months since Gibson left school, but the trip back was surreal.

"It's kind of weird because you think about all the times when you were in here practicing and it's just a totally different feeling right now," he said. "You're a pro, a totally different team and different coaches. You think about all the times you came here at night to work on your game and all the sweat."

Bulls hit century mark -- finally

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With their 101-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, the Bulls reached the 100-point mark for the first time this season.

"For awhile there in the fourth quarter, it didn't seem like we'd get there," coach Vinny Del Negro said.

The Bulls scored just two minutes in the first five minutes of the fourth.

Nocioni doubtful tonight

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Andres Nocioni was looking forward to facing the Bulls for the first time since being traded to the Sacramento Kings last February, but the forward likely will miss Tuesday night's Bulls-Kings game with a right hip injury.

"I can run but I cannot jump or change directions," Nocioni said following the Kings' shootaround. "I'm pushing myself the last couple of days, but I can't do it. It wouldn't be good for the team or for me to go out there. The team is doing well, so let someone else go in there and play.

"So I just have to sit and watch the game and be frustrated."

Nocioni is averaging 11.6 points and 4.1 rebounds this season.

Gray hospitalized because of fluid buildup

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Center Aaron Gray, who is out with a lower left leg stress fracture, has been hospitalized because of fluid build up in his right knee -- a condition called cellulitis.

Gray was taken to a suburban Chicago hospital following Monday's practice session at the Berto Center and remained there Tuesday morning.

Gray was expected to accompany the team on its Western road trip, which begins Tuesday night at Sacramento, but obviously didn't leave with the team. The Bulls are hopeful he can join the team later in the five-game Western trip to continue his rehabilitation from the stress fracture.

Should NBA retire Jordan's 23?

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LeBron James said Thursday that Michael Jordan's No. 23 should be retired league wide and that he was considering changing next season to No. 6.

"I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon." James said after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Heat in Miami with Jordan sitting courtside. "There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade if there wasn't Michael Jordan first.

"He can't get the logo, and if he can't, something has to be done. I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I'm starting a petition, and I've got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it. Now, if I'm not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it."

Right now, Jordan's 23 is retired by the Bulls and the Heat. The NBA doesn't have any number retired league wide. Should 23, in honor of Jordan, be the first? Leave your comments below.

Bulls move past Nuggets loss

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Although the dramatic and controversial loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night at the United Center was still a hot topic Wednesday, the Bulls tried not to dwell on it and instead looked forward to the game with the Toronto Raptors.

"There's frustration because you think you won a game," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It's difficult. But I think we've regrouped and I expect us to come out with good effort tonight and ride the emotional rollercoaster."

In case you've been in a cave the last 24 hours, you've seen the replay of Brad Miller's attempt at a buzzer beater countless times. But just for the record, the Bulls inbounded the ball with 0.3 seconds left and Miller's heave was initially called good and the Bulls thought they had a miraculous win.

But a shot at the end of the clock (in any quarter) is automatically reviewed. The process isn't supposed to take longer than two minutes, but the review took at least four minutes before crew chief Mark Wunderlich waved off the shot, giving the Nuggets the win.

Del Negro said he watched the replay "several" times, but declined to offer an opinion when asked.

"It's irrelevant, my opinion, right now," he said. "They made the decision and you move forward. We have the game against Toronto and that's what I'm gonna focus on.
"It's disappointing. But we have a very difficult game tonight we have to get ready for."

The replays shown on the Comcast SportsNet's telecast appeared to be inconclusive, but Ron Johnson, the NBA's senior VP of referee operations said during an interview on ESPN's 1000 "Waddle and Silvy" show that the officials had access to an angle that the TV audience may not have seen.

"Mark finished looking at various views and then he asked if there was any other view available," Johnson said. "He was given a view that showed clearly that Brad Miller's fingers were still in contact with the ball when there was zero seconds left on the game clock. Therefore, the ball had not left his hand."

Karl looks back at 1996 Finals

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Denver Nuggets coach George Karl was the coach of the Seattle SuperSonics team that lost to the Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals. He was asked what he recalled of that series, which the Bulls won in six games, before the Nuggets faced the Bulls Tuesday night.

"I wish we had Nate McMillan," Karl said. "He played nine quarters in the series and I think we won seven of those quarters. When he was on the court, we were the complete team that might have been able to beat them."

McMillan, now coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, was hampered by a knee injury in that series.

Thomas back at Berto

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Two days after undergoing surgery to repair the fractured radius in his left forearm, Tyrus Thomas was back at the team's practice facility on Monday.

He watched practice with his arm in a sling and left without speaking to the media.

"He's down, he's disappointed," coach Vinny Del Negro said of Thomas' mood. "He's got his arm in a sling and he goes to the specialist tomorrow. Put yourself in that situation; you're gonna be down. He worked hard all summer to get in shape.

"We'll miss him, with the athleticism he brings to the team. Hopefully, other guys can step up to fill in."

On the bright side, being injured got Thomas out of the half-hour autograph session after practice where all the players signed a host of basketball, jerseys and other items for Bulls' charities.

Thomas has successful surgery

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Tyrus Thomas underwent successful surgery on Saturday to repair the fractured radius in his left forearm. The 6-9 forward will be sidelined four to six weeks.

"We texted back and forth," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He needs some rest and he's a little drugged up right now. He's had a long day, but everything went well and now it's just a matter of getting some rest. He gets reevaluated on Tuesday."

Thomas out 4-6 weeks

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X-rays taken of Tyrus Thomas' left arm taken on Friday revealed the Bulls' worst fears. The 6-9 forward suffered a fracture radius of the left forearm during a weight training session earlier in the day at the Berto Center.

Thomas will undergo surgery on Saturday and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks.

Thomas injures arm

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This is not a good week to be Tyrus Thomas.

The forward missed two days with a nasty case of the flu earlier in the week before returning in a limited role Thursday at Cleveland. Then on Friday, Thomas suffered an injury to his left arm in a weight lifting accident during practice at the Berto Center.

The severity of the injury is not known yet, but Thomas was taken to a local hospital for x-rays. The results of those x-rays and his status for Saturday night's game against the Charlotte Bobcats is unclear at this point.

"It's pretty sore," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I don't know how bad it is. He went to get an x-ray. Let's see how it is. I want to see how he is, what the doctor says.

"I think he was doing some type of pull up or something and kind of injured his arm. It's just unfortunate."

Thomas a game-time decision

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Tyrus Thomas was on the court shooting about two hours before tip-off of the Bulls-Cavaliers game tonight in Cleveland and is preparing to play. But whether or not he does will be a game-time decision.

"I want to see him warm up before deciding," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Thomas said he was much better today, but said was as sick as he's ever been a couple of days ago. He said he decided to fly to Cleveland after being examined by a Bulls physician.

"I went to see Dr. [Kathy] Weber," Thomas said. "She released me. She told me I was cool."

If Thomas does play, he'll come off the bench. Rookie Taj Gibson will start at power forward.

"I'm here to support the team, however it is," Thomas said. "Cheer, play, whatever. That's what I'm here for."

Thomas joins team in Cleveland

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Not sure yet if he'll play, but I do know Tyrus Thomas is in Cleveland because he was on my flight.

I have to say I was surprised when I boarded the aircraft and saw Thomas sitting in first class.

He indicated he was feeling better and it appears he will try to play tonight when the Bulls play the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Our flight landed at 3:30 p.m., so he won't have much time to rest at the team hotel before heading to the arena.

Thomas sent home again

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Tyrus Thomas showed up at the Berto Center before this morning's practice session, but was still sick and was sent home for a second straight day.

He won't accompany the team when it departs for Cleveland this afternoon. Although it seems highly unlikely, there's a remote chance he could travel on his own on Thursday and join the team in time for the game with the Cavaliers.

"He's at home," coach Vinny Del Negro said of Thomas. "He'll see the doctor today and tomorrow and then we'll reevaluate and see if he can fly to Cleveland. But he's pretty sick still. He's got the flu, sore throat, the whole thing."

Besides allowing him to get rest, Thomas was sent home both days so he wouldn't infect anyone else on the team.

"Exactly," Del Negro said. "That's why he's not here."

Thomas out for Bucks game

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Tyrus Thomas is out for tonight's game against the Milwaukee Bucks because of the flu.

Thomas was sent home before the morning shootaround at the Berto Center after seeing trainer Fred Tedeschi and was examined by a team doctor in the afternoon. He remained at home resting and didn't make the trip to the United Center.

Rookie Taj Gibson will start at power forward.

Guard Jannero Pargo will suit up, but he's still bothered by a sore back and coach Vinny Del Negro may try to avoid using him.

Thomas misses shootaround

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Tyrus Thomas missed this morning's shootaround with the flu.

Although there is still a chance Thomas could play tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center, coach Vinny Del Negro said rookie Taj Gibson will start at power forward regardless.

Thomas wasn't at the Berto Center when the Bulls' shootaround ended, but Del Negro said Thomas saw trainer Fred Tedeschi when he arrived before the shootaround began and was sent home.

"[Thomas] wasn't feeling very well this morning, Fred said," Del Negro said. "We'll see how he feels tonight."

Del Negro wants to run with the Bulls

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Heading into Sunday night's game with the Miami Heat, coach Vinny Del Negro wanted to see his team attack more on the fast break. In the first two games, the Bulls had a total of 10 fast-break points.

"You have to get stops, you have to get boards, you have to get it out quicker even if they do score and Derrick [Rose] has to play with more thrust and pace," Del Negro said. "Kirk [Hinrich] does that a little bit better.

"We've talked about. We want to be smart, but we also want to push it up, see what we can get and use Derrick's athletic ability."

Rose is working his way back from an ankle injury that caused him to miss much of the preseason and has been somewhat cautious in the first two games.

"I think it's early in the year, he missed a lot of training camp and he's not in great condition right now, so I think he's just feeling his way through a little bit," Del Negro said of Rose. "We've had two tough opponents the first two games. This one's not an easy one by any stretch. We're gonna have to play well [and] Derrick's gonna have to pick his game up like everyone."

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

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