With DeRozan and other ailing, Bulls rookie Terry should finally get his chance

As the injuries pile up for the Bulls, a couple things are clear:

Finishing with the NBA's fifth-worst record is an attainable goal. The Bulls need to land a top-four pick in the draft lottery to keep their selection from going to Orlando. It's not too late to make a playoff push, but there is a potential consolation prize.

DeMar DeRozan is not expected to play Wednesday at Indiana due to a left quad strain.

DeRozan had an MRI on Tuesday morning, and coach Billy Donovan said he doesn't think the injury will be a long-term issue, but DeRozan's return is unclear. The Pacers aren't far behind the Bulls in the standings, so a loss would help the draft-pick path.

"There's enough discomfort there for him where I think he's having a hard time moving and cutting and jumping," Donovan said of DeRozan. "So a lot of it's going to be how does he progress."

Donovan said Derrick Jones Jr. (groin strain) is also unlikely to play in Indiana, while Alex Caruso (foot sprain) should be a game-time decision after sitting out Monday's loss to Orlando.

These injuries also open up a chance for rookie Dalen Terry to finally get some extended playing time. Terry spent 8:44 on the court Monday, didn't score, but was credited with 2 steals and provided an energy boost.

Terry's season-high in playing time is 9:46 at Toronto on Nov. 6. Monday was his second-highest total.

"It felt great obviously just getting a chance to go out there and show what I do," Terry said after the game. "Obviously, I displayed some energy in that third quarter and gave our team a lift, but we still lost so kind of low spirits right now."

Now well past the halfway point of the season, Terry has logged 376 minutes over the course of 12 games for the Windy City Bulls in the G-League. For the NBA Bulls, he's played a total of 72 minutes in 21 appearances.

"I give him a lot of credit for keeping himself ready, considering he hasn't been in very many games this year," Donovan said after Tuesday's practice at the Advocate Center. "His energy was good, certainly need that from him. There will be opportunities for him, I think."

Terry talked about being in this strange circumstance, spending the majority of his time in the NBA locker room, but getting most of his playing time with the Windy City Bulls, both on the road and in Hoffman Estates.

"I was prepped for it pretty well," Terry said. "Obviously having a guy like DeMar, he's keeps me levelheaded. Anytime I get out of character, he always just calms me down, says there's ups and downs in this journey and the guys that have stayed down for a little bit longer than the guys that are up, when they get their chance, they're going to blossom a little bit harder."

Terry could be considered something of a long-term project for the Bulls. But at 6-feet-7 with long arms, the ability to handle the ball and run an offense, it's also easy to see his potential. He's not really a true point guard, but shares many of the same qualities as injured guard Lonzo Ball.

Terry's best performance for Windy City actually happened in his first game, when he had 18 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds against Iowa on Nov. 12. He said he doesn't mind bouncing between the two teams.

"Honestly, I just like to play. I love basketball," Terry said. "Ever since I was born, I always liked to play, so anywhere I can play, that's where I want to go.

"It's nice to go to a different atmosphere, where I'm the young guy here and then there, I've got to be a leader. Especially when some of my teammates come out and watch me play; it makes me smile when I go on a road trip with the Windy City Bulls and they text me to say, 'Make sure everybody knows why you need to be in the NBA.'"

Terry thinks the toughest part of his NBA transition has been the cold. He grew up in the Phoenix area and spent two years in college at Arizona, so a real winter has been a new experience.

"I'd never really seen snow for real," he said. "I just get as fast as possible to my car and as fast as possible to the building. I just layer up, make sure I'm warm, because I've never been in cold weather like this."


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