It looks to be an aggravation of the previous injury that cost him five games earlier this season.
“I just checked on him,” Zach LaVine said via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, denying getting any official update on DeRozan’s status. “Asked how he was doing. He said he was going to be alright. So, I think the type of guy he is, he’s going to be alright.”
DeRozan declined to speak with the media, per NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson, opting instead to start treatment for the injury. He will get a day off (to travel) before the Bulls are set to begin a three-game West Coast sprint featuring four games in six nights, two against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I’m always concerned because he’s been dealing with it,” said Billy Donovan via NBA.com. “But I haven’t gotten anything indicating that he’s going to be out any length of time. I think when you have a reoccurring that he’s been having to manage and deal with…you always are concerned is the guy totally healthy.”
The Bulls are 1-5 without DeRozan this season.
For what it’s worth, big man Nikola Vucevic did echo LaVine’s optimism on DeRozan’s initial outlook.
“He’s feeling OK,” Vucevic said, per Cody Westerlund of 670 The Score. “It’s just something that kind of comes and goes. He didn’t want to force it too much the way the game was going.”
According to Westerlund, the Bulls are more concerned that the injury will need to be managed and with how that could hinder the six-time All-Star down the stretch, not that it will knock him out entirely.
It was not a particularly strong showing for DeRozan even before the exit.
He finished with just four points on 0-for-4 shooting doing his scoring from the free throw line, though he did add three rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
This snaps DeRozan’s streak of games with at least 24 points at five.
Impact of Injury on DeMar DeRozan’s Bulls Tenure
Chicago maintains its positioning as the 10-seed, holding a 1.5-game lead over the 11th-seeded Indiana Pacers who got a win over the 9th-seeded Toronto Raptors who now sit just one half-game over the Bulls in a muddled up Play-In Tournament landscape.
Losing DeRozan could be disastrous for the Bulls but, looking forward, it could determine the veteran’s future in Chicago.
They are headed for significant changes this summer in the wake of Lonzo Ball’s surgery.
“You never know what happens, man,” DeRozan said, per Mayberry. “All you can do is control whatever I have in front of me, and today that’s to play the game and let everything else take care of itself.”
DeRozan’s point was that his contract – which expires after next season – was not on his mind.
But it is fair to wonder if both sides would benefit more from exploring other options this offseason, especially if the Bulls limp out of the regular season and miss the playoffs.
Bulls Almost Got Alex Caruso Back For This Game
Perhaps in a bit of brighter injury news, the Bulls were all set to get Alex Caruso back for this contest. But, out of what the team is terming an “abundance of caution”, per Jamal Collier of ESPN, he was held out after experiencing some discomfort in his injured foot.
It is Caruso’s second straight absence, his third in the last five games, and his 13th of the season. Still, the 28-year-old defensive ace has already surpassed his total appearances from the 2021-22 regular season when he was available for exactly half of the season due to various injuries.
Chicago is 7-6 when Caruso sits but has lost four of the last five such outings.