Alex Caruso Teases Bulls Return With Cryptic Instagram Post

Alex Caruso

Getty Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso watching on from the sideline during a November 19 game against the Denver Nuggets.

A playoff run is in the works in the Windy City, with guard Alex Caruso well along in his recovery, and bracing for a return to the Chicago Bulls lineup.

The 28-year old is nursing a fractured right wrist he suffered in a controversial collision with Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen at the end of January.

But the 2020 NBA champ looks primed for a comeback, with video surfacing on Monday of the guard practicing without a brace, which he’d been rocking since his surgery:

Caruso followed that up with an Instagram post on Wednesday night, flashing a photo of him handling the ball during a practice on the Miami Heat‘s home floor in South Beach:

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Is he trying to tell fans something?

Head coach Billy Donovan’s latest update (via NBC Sports) on the guard wasn’t too optimistic, but progress is progress:

He’s gotta get his strength back. Like, he can’t really even pass with that (his right hand), he doesn’t feel comfortable shooting it. There’s not pain. It’s just stiff and it’s weak. That’s gonna take some time to build that up. I think once he gets to that point, then he’ll be certainly cleared for contact. My feeling is it will probably be a couple weeks of doing this, to be honest with you.

In 28 appearances (nine starts) with the Chicago Bulls this season, Alex Caruso is averaging 8.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.

His return, as well as fellow guard Lonzo Ball’s, could dictate the team’s playoff success, or lack thereof.

In the meantime however, DeMar DeRozan’s MVP campaign is keeping the ship afloat.

DeRozan Named Player of the Month

The NBA announced their Players of the Month for February on Thursday, with none other than DeMar DeRozan earning the honors for the Eastern Conference. Luka Doncic won the award for the Western Conference.

DeRozan has been on an absolute tear, including a streak of eight games where he scored more than 35 points.

At 32-years old, he’s averaging a career-high 28.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game this season.

He’s certainly in the MVP conversation but has stiff competition in Giannis Anteotkounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokic.

The Eastern Conference of the Month award for February, however, will be his alone.

His ability to help carry the Chicago Bulls in absence of guards Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball has been commendable.

We’re far from the days of fans wondering whether or not his offseason contract was an overpay.

But despite his late-game heroics and top-tier shotmaking, DeMar DeRozan hasn’t been able to cover for the gaps on defense.

Bulls Defense Without Caruso

The Chicago Bulls are 11-7 since Alex Caruso went down, but that above-.500 record doesn’t highlight just how much their defense has suffered.

But his absence has been felt–particularly on the defensive end.

In the 17 games without Caruso, Chicago’s given up 115 points nightly, down from their 110.4 season average.

Furthermore, per, they’ve got the league’s 25th-ranked Defensive Rating over the last 15 games, at 116.3 points allowed per 100 possessions.

They’re at 111.3 points per 100 possessions on the season.

In that same span, they’re dead last in steals per game, and Caruso was averaging 1.9 per game prior to his injury.

It goes deeper than this too if you take a dive into the lineups tracking stats on Cleaning the Glass.

It’s got the Bulls at a (+9.3) over his 1,546 possessions played this year.

And without Caruso, the team has been (-0.8) over 4,357 possessions played.

Without even doing the search, it stands to reason that the (-9.5) swing with him off the floor is among the largest across the entire NBA for key contributors.

Get well soon Caruso.

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