Deng 'fine' day after his return to Bulls

Updated 2/5/2012 8:45 PM

After scoring 21 points in his return from a wrist injury, Luol Deng admitted the next test would be to see how it felt a day later.

Deng didn't speak to reporters following a brief Sunday practice at the Berto Center, but it appeared that everything was good.


"He was fine in practice today. We're encouraged by that," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He said at the beginning (of Saturday's game at Milwaukee), he wasn't sure, but once he got hit a couple times, he was fine."

Asked if Deng's health is a day-to-day issue, Thibodeau answered: "He's fine now. If he has a problem, then we'll deal with it then, but he says he feels good."

After missing seven games with a torn ligament in his left wrist, Deng jumped right back into his usual role, playing a team-high 41 minutes. He grabbed 9 rebounds and hit 9 of 19 shots, including 3 from 3-point range.

"He does a lot for our team," Derrick Rose said after the game. "It feels good when you've got all of your leaders out there."

Thibodeau spoke at length about how much work Deng put in to stay in shape, keep up with the team and help coach his rookie replacement, Jimmy Butler.

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"It says a lot about him as a pro," Thibodeau said. "Luol has a lot of mental and physical toughness. He stayed in great shape. He prepared himself well. He was diligent with his rehab. He did all the things you would expect a good pro to do.

"There's not much he can't do, and he does everything well. And he's got experience. He makes the team better in every aspect."

Instead of a brace, Deng used some tape to protect his left wrist.

"We played around with the taping a little bit and we found something comfortable," Deng said in Milwaukee. "I felt it. I'm going to feel it. As the game went on, really I forgot about it.

"I was cautious about it in the beginning. As the game went on, it was just playing basketball."

Korver finds range:

Kyle Korver got a chance to start four games when both Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton were out with injuries, and it seemed to help his shooting stroke.


After going through a slump during the hectic stretch of schedule in early January, he now has hit 16 of 35 attempts from 3-point range on this road trip.

"I felt like I lost my legs with the seven games in nine days," Korver said. "I just didn't have the lift in my legs and played like it for a good little while.

"I think the last few games getting more (playing) time and some more shots was good for me. You're never going to get back in rhythm unless you make some shots on the floor. It was nice."

Super Bowl traveling party:

The Bulls were scheduled to depart for Newark, N.J. at 3 p.m. on Sunday. With the usual delays, airport time and busing to the hotel, the schedule wasn't conducive to watching the Super Bowl.

There were no plans for a team gathering, which the Bulls typically do when they're on a Western Conference swing.

"Those things usually last forever. I'm sure we'll catch a good portion of it," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I know some of the guys are excited about watching it. Our guys are split down the middle on this one."

Speaking of split down the middle, Thibodeau grew up in Connecticut, roughly halfway between Giants and Patriots country.

"I went back and forth. I kept changing," he said. "I think I'll be pulling for the Patriots in this one. I liked the Bears, too. Make sure you say that."


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