It had to be a pretty serious injury for Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan to walk off the court with just over one minute to go in the fourth quarter. But it is not new to the six-time All-Star who said he was feeling the injury the “whole game”.
“It probably happened 10 games before the Boston game,” DeRozan said after the Bulls’ 100-91 loss to the Orlando Magic per NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls Talk Twitter feed. “I thought it was like a knee contusion or whatever it was. It’s like a weird feeling. I’ve never felt nothing like this. Because when I’m sitting doing nothing, I don’t feel anything. It’s just when I do anything to work that muscle in my leg, it’s just a lot of discomfort. So just trying to figure that out, get that situated the best I can.”
DeRozan, 33, finished with 19 points, six assists, three rebounds, and one block with three turnovers in a little under 36 minutes.
He was an ironman for the Bulls last season missing just six games – his fewest in three years and second-most on the team — and was not on the injury report for this game. But he has already missed four games this season including three games with a strained quad.
And it sounds as though there could be more.
“I think [it’s] just an accumulation of what it’s been. Just attempting to play on it. That’s all it was…I’m going to get it checked out [Tuesday] just to make sure everything is alright and go from there. Just get a better idea of exactly what it is. I been playing with it for a while. So i just want to get a better idea of what exactly it is.”
By DeRozan’s estimation, the injury occurred during (or around) a 110-108 win over the Atlanta Hawks on December 21.
He said that the injury has affected his “explosion”.
The numbers somewhat bear that out too with DeRozan averaging 25.9 points on 60.1% true shooting through that point. Since then, he has averaged 24.6 points on 58.7% true shooting – still good but not enough to uplift a struggling team around him that now sits one half-game back of the Washington Wizards for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament.
DeMar DeRozan Could Need to Sit Through All-Star Break
“I’m going to figure it out,” DeRozan said. “Just dealing with this whole leg situation. It’s just been tough to get explosion on a lot of my shots and everything. Just dealing with the discomfort of the pain and all that. Like I said, ain’t no excuse for me. I’m going to figure it out one way or another. It’s going to come. It is what it is. But that’s why it’s just a critical time coming up with the rest with the break and everything. So, as soon as I get back to myself, the rhythm part will come.”
This is just the latest blow on the injury front for the Bulls who also lost Derrick Jones Jr. to an adductor strain and have been without starting point guard Lonzo Ball all season amid a host of other injuries to key pieces.
The Bulls have two more games before the All-Star break and 23 games on the other side.
Losing DeRozan for any stretch could be devastating. He has the second-highest on-off differential in the most qualifying minutes on the team, per Cleaning The Glass.
They get outscored by 3.5 points per 100 possessions when he is off the floor. They have gone 1-3 when DeRozan has sat this season. But, perhaps, they should be looking to embrace this opportunity to see what they are without him.
Bulls Careening Towards Uncertainty
The Bulls have now lost four straight games and are awaiting decisions from point guards on the buyout and waiver markets to salvage the rest of their season. They are not in a good place and any injury to DeRozan could fast-track the future.
There could be a major decision to make on his future after this season as he heads into the final year of his three-year, $81.9 million contract.
Big man Nikola Vucevic is set to hit free agency this offseason, though executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas expressed confidence in his ability to re-sign the two-time All-Star. Karnisovas also sounded like an executive ready to make a change, notes NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson.
“Karnišovas emphasized that he represented the Chicago Bulls as buyers in his leaguewide discussions,” Johnson wrote of Karnisovas’ comments during a post-trade-deadline press conference and again during an appearance on ‘Mully & Haugh’ on 670 The Score in Chicago. “That would certainly indicate the executive vice president recognizes that, especially without Lonzo Ball, the roster he has aggressively overhauled over the last 23 months isn’t good enough.”
Where could that leave DeRozan?