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November 6, 2009

Bulls’ Thomas out for several weeks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 7:06 pm

Tyrus Thomas’ nightmare week got even worse this morning. According to a team press release, the Bulls’ disgruntled forward “suffered a fractured radius of his left forearm during a weight training session this morning at practice. X-rays confirmed the injury and he will undergo surgery tomorrow.” Thomas is expected to be out four to six weeks.

Chicago is coming off a big road win at Cleveland on Thursday, the Bulls’ second win in a row and first road victory in three tries this season. The two wins game with virtually no contribution from Thomas, who has been unable to consolidate the gains he appeared to make during last spring’s epic first round series against the Celtics. As we recounted Wednesday, Thomas missed Chicago’s 83-81 win over Milwaukee with flu-like symptoms, capping a negative series of recent events for the beleaguered fourth-year forward. Thomas played 12 minutes off the bench in the win over Cleveland and scored six points.

The Bulls are well-positioned to absorb Thomas’ absence. Rookie Taj Gibson has started the last two games at power forward and has responded well. He’s a more disciplined defender than Thomas, though less agile and more comfortable closer to the basket. Like Thomas, Gibson is a good weakside help defender but isn’t as prone to get caught out of position. Offensively, Gibson looks like he has a decent stroke from 10-15 feet, but he isn’t going to create shots and needs to be a better finisher at the rim.

Look for Luol Deng, who is off to a terrific start, to get more time at the four-position in a small lineup with John Salmons or rookie James Johnson getting more time at small forward. Johnson, who has played 11 minutes in one game this season, is likely going to have an opportunity for some minutes in Vinny Del Negro’s revamped rotation.

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