Carlos Boozer is tired of talking about his turf toe, but the pain isn't going to subside any time soon.
Boozer revealed that ligaments on both sides of his right big toe were
torn as a result of the injury suffered in Game 5 of the first-round
series against the Pacers.
"It's not broken," Boozer told the Tribune. "Thank God all the bones are good."
There are three levels of turf toe: Grade I, which involves stretched
ligaments; Grade II, which is a partially torn ligament; and Grade III, a
complete tear of the ligaments and joint capsule, with a possible
dislocation. Boozer wouldn't say exactly which grade his was, but he did
his best to explain the pain.
"The doctors said on the scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the worst; it was a 3," Boozer said.
As for suggestions he should sit for the rest of the Hawks series to prepare for the conference finals, Boozer laughed.
"I'm going to play," Boozer said. ``I'm doing what I can to help my
team win. And my teammates and my coaches want me out there."
Well for those thinking Boozer suddenly got old, lost all skill, explosiveness, and everything else, this should come as somewhat of a relief.
Boozer's clearly hurt pretty badly when playing with torn ligaments in his toe. This doesn't explain all of the issue with Boozer, as his poor play extends back longer than his turf toe, but it does explain the exceptionally poor play since.
Should Boozer sit out?
Yes. I think he should. He's not helping the team right now, and the Bulls are playing considerably worse when he's on the floor than Taj Gibson. He might still be an option to provide some depth for the team playing at this level, but the lion's share of the minutes should go to Gibson.
Boozer himself has said he would play if he'd help the team, but this strikes me as one of those situations where no one wants to admit he's not helping the team. Thibodeau is too stubborn and Boozer is too proud.
What are the Bulls odds without Boozer?
The Bulls should still take care of the Hawks fairly easily, but going up against Miami or whom ever comes out of the West while a man down won't be easy. I wouldn't count the Bulls out, as Taj Gibson is a capable replacement while Kurt Thomas has played well in the emergency depth role.
The Bulls defense plays better without Boozer as it is, so not all will be lost. That said, whenever you lose a starting caliber player, and you have readjust your lineup as well as lose one of your better scoring options things will be rough.
The hate centered around Boozer's poor play somewhat confirms how valuable he was when healthy. The offense has really struggled since Boozer's drop off in offensive play. It's a reason fans are aggravated with Boozer, but it also shows how much the team does need his offense.
I'm not sure there's a right thing to do here with Boozer. Even if the Bulls rested him for the entire Atlanta series, it's unlikely that he'd be healed up by the ECF anyway. However, the Bulls do need to scale back his minutes while his effectiveness is limited.
I'd throw Gibson into the starting lineup and let him know he's going to get 30 minutes a night. Gibson has played at a high level when receiving starters minutes, and I trust him to do so again.