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Luol Deng joins Bulls’ injured list with sore leg

Luol Deng sout game against Pistons. The prognosis is thhis sore left calf could be better couple days. | Getty

Luol Deng sat out the game against the Pistons. The prognosis is that his sore left calf could be better in a couple of days. | Getty Images

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Updated: January 9, 2014 10:02AM



It really is starting to seem like old times for the Bulls.

Short-handed, undermanned and again defiant about the lack of star power needed to win consistently. Basically, it’s 2012-13 all over again.

With Derrick Rose out for the season after knee surgery and Jimmy Butler still in street clothes with turf toe, Luol Deng was held out of the game Saturday night against the Detroit Pistons with what he called a left Achilles injury.

“I don’t know other than what [trainer] Fred [Tedeschi] tells me,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked how long Deng would be on the shelf. “He just said it could be better in a couple days.’’

Thibodeau said the team paid attention to the schedule in making the decision on Deng. The Bulls will have two days off before beginning a stretch in which they’ll play four games in five nights.

If all goes well, Deng will be ready to go after several more days of rest.

Considering that Deng has averaged 28.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in December, the Bulls will need him.

Being undermanned is nothing new for this team. During their playoff run last season, the Bulls played without Rose, Deng and Kirk Hinrich.

“Hey, look, the disappointment was for Derrick,’’ Thibodeau said, ­reflecting on the injuries the last few weeks. “You don’t get here by accident. If you’re in the pros, you’re a great player. We have to be a great team. It’s not an individual sport. If our team is tied together and doing the right things, we’ll have a chance to win.’’

Taj Gibson started in Deng’s place.

Praise for the rookie

Rookie guard Tony Snell started again and continued to impress his veteran teammates.

“He’s helping our team a lot, not just with his shooting and his offensive skill set,’’ center Joakim Noah said. “What I really like about Tony is he wants to learn, he wants to get better, and he really cares about winning. Those characteristics are really important, especially if you want to play deep into the playoffs.’’

Taking steps

Butler still is listed as week-to-week, but there is at least a bit more clarity on his recovery. Thibodeau said Butler is “moving a lot better. So he’s actually pretty close. But I want to see a practice with some contact in it before he gets out in a game. But he’s moving in as close to game speed as he can get.’’

Thibodeau still wasn’t clear whether he would bring Butler back slowly off the bench or start him.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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