The Chicago Bulls count on Luol Deng for their defensive identity, but have had to make do without him since he suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist. Deng has consulted with surgeons and doctors about the extent of the injury and whether he needs immediate surgery, but now Deng has decided to give it a go and shoot for a Sunday return to the court. He is a right-handed player and brings most by way of perimeter defense, so perhaps he can still be effective without the use of his offhand.
KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported from Friday's practice via Twitter that "Deng is shooting, dribbling, still on track to play Sunday" against the Miami Heat, but that there is still no guarantee he will hit his target date for a return. no doubt the Chicago Bulls will be fired up for their rematch against LeBron James and the Miami Heat after being knocked out of the 2011 NBA playoffs by them, so any help Deng could offer on the court against James would certainly give them a good chance to exact some regular-season revenge. The only question is whether putting Deng back on the court so quickly is worth the gamble when looking forward to a return to the playoffs.
SB Nation's Bulls blog, Blog a Bull, is not exactly excited about rushing their injured small forward back on the court so quickly:
That left wrist is needed to max out to do all of those things that Deng does to 'glue' the team together. It's needed to fight for rebounds, establish position off the ball, create space on the dribble drive, attack passing lanes, and set effective screens.
On top of that, how is anyone comfortable with Deng checking a 6'9", 275-pound freak of nature playing the most aggressive basketball of his career inLeBron James on Sunday afternoon?