The Bulls have been reeling lately, with seven straight losses and more tough games on tap this week.
Following Sunday’s practice at the Berto Center, coach Vinny Del Negro offered a vision of a brighter future. And he wasn’t talking about next season.
“We’ve had some tough things happen to us,” Del Negro said. “Luckily, nothing’s major. There’s some hope we can get everyone back here in the next 4 days, 5 days, a week – I don’t know what it is yet. But as soon as we can get everyone together, we can get on the same page quickly again and get back to playing the way we’re capable of.”
Does he really mean everyone? Apparently so.
There seems to be a decent chance Derrick Rose (sprained left wrist) will be ready to play Tuesday when the Bulls visit Memphis. Luol Deng (right calf strain) seems doubtful until later in the week, maybe longer.
There might be some encouraging news on Joakim Noah’s plantar fasciitis. He ran a little bit early in Sunday’s practice, then was using the zero-gravity treadmill when it was over.
The Bulls announced earlier this month that Noah would be shut down for three weeks, ending on March 24. Del Negro suggested Sunday that it’s conceivable Noah could return sooner.
“As soon as possible is the answer, but we have to be smart about it,” Del Negro said. “We’ll just have to monitor him, see how he feels tomorrow. Then if he’s feeling fine, we’ll give him a little bit more. If he’s not, that won’t be a very good sign. He didn’t do much today, he just got up and down a little bit without any contact.”
The Bulls will be without guard Kirk Hinrich against Memphis. He was given a one-game suspension for making contact with referee Bennie Adams late in Friday’s loss at Miami. Hinrich was ejected at the 4:58 mark of the fourth quarter after collecting a pair of technical fouls for arguing a foul call.
“I’m just disappointed,” Hinrich said Sunday. “Anytime you have to miss time when you’re healthy, it’s frustrating. I was following him. I don’t know what we going through his head or anything like that. But he stopped, stuck his shoulder and elbow out and the contact was made. … There’s nothing really I can do about it.”