Chicago Bulls rest 4 starts for final game of regular season as injury concerns continue ahead of playoff – The Mercury News

The final day of each NBA season is often met with the longest injury report of the year as teams rest their stars to settle for the postseason.

The Bulls followed the trend in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Minnesota Timberwolves, making four starts for the 82nd game of the season – Demar DeRozan, Zach Lavin, Nikola Vucevi and Alex Caruso.

Some of those options were expected. Bull Mathematically the number 6 cannot move from the seedSo playing a full-power lineup with DeRozan and Vučević would risk fatigue and injury, the only two keys to the Bulls’ post-season success.

But other names on the injury report serve as an emerging question mark for the Bulls in the playoffs – primarily Caruso and Lavin, whose health can determine how far the Bulls can go.

LaVine’s knee became a concern when he missed the last two games before the All-Star break Seek Cure in Los Angeles For pain and stiffness. Almost two months later, the Bulls have no further answers about the guard’s health after the season.

To his credit, LaVine has maintained a nearly identical offensive production—24.4 points and 4.5 assists per game—before and after the All-Star break. But his shooting percentage has declined because of an involuntary cowardice in many sports.

Meanwhile, Caruso is fight back cramps, sitting outside a game last week and wearing a heat pack during breaks on the sidelines. The guard asked the Miami Heat to withdraw from the third quarter of the Bulls’ loss after increasing pain between his shoulder blades, resulting in severe pain whenever he collided with other players.

Even when Caruso wasn’t taking care of the injury, coach Billy Donovan said it’s easy to tell the defensive specialist – who has only stolen the ball once in the last three games – playing at a fraction of his normal intensity. Used to be.

“He’s not well,” Donovan said.

For his part, DeRozan isn’t a fan of the rest of the game — and he doesn’t need them this season. The veteran understands the need to take care of his body, joking after a midseason game that all he does after a game is “go home and sit down” now that he is in his 30s. But DeRozan isn’t inclined to take breaks, unless he feels his body is in trouble.

“I don’t need a break,” he said after Tuesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. “I hate sitting around for too long. I love playing. … I’m a little awkward when it comes to this. You shouldn’t feel great. I hate feeling too good. Some of my best games Came when I thought I had jumped 10 media people.”

DeRozan called off a game last week after feeling trouble in his groin – which he will always treat with caution following a torn adductor injury in 2014. He will finish the season after missing only six games for the Bulls, four of which came leaguewide during COVID-19. -19 outbreak in December.

DeRozan’s ability to dodge injuries this season served as the only bright light for the Bulls in a season where hopes were routinely dashed by injury reports.

Bull Waited until this week for Lonzo Ball to take off for the season after January surgery for a torn meniscus, ending a month-long streak of hopes that the guard could return to the roster for a last-minute boost. Ball injuries were a staple of the revolving door of the starting guard for the Bulls, having seen four different players switch to the starting point guard role over the past two months.

Due to injuries to Caruso and LaVine, the Bulls may have to continue this trend of adaptable lineups after the season.

“We’ve dealt with all of this for so long,” Donovan said. “You try to have a level of optimism … but that’s been the case for us this year.”

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