There are certain types of injuries which are unavoidable. Carlos Boozer tripping over a bag, Joakim Noah jamming his thumb on the rim, Luol Deng tearing a ligament in his wrist. Bad luck. Nothing you can do about that. When those injuries happen, it stinks, we live with it and move on. However, what about some of the other injuries? Is their more Chicago could do?
The Bulls have had several problems over the past five years that show a breakdown in the system where they manage injuries. It started perhaps with Eddy Curry's "heart condition" which he was cleared to play through by other doctors, went on to Luol Deng's stress fracture in his leg which went misdiagnosed badly enough that the Bulls put out a public press release throwing him under the bus, and has continued on to overuse, aggravation of injuries due to coming back too early, and compensatory injuries from existing injuries the past two seasons.
There are many factors at play, and I'm not an insider to know which of them is really the problem.
Do the doctors/trainers not diagnose properly?
Do the doctors/trainers give poor recommendations for when to come back?
Do the players not provide honest enough responses about how they're feeling?
Are the right tests not being done to validate the the present state of the injuries?
Do the coaches overplay the guys in return or overplay them in the season when they're worn down?
I'm not going to guess where the problem lies except to note that there is a problem. In last year's playoffs, Boozer didn't appear able to dunk a basketball due to injuries he initially suffered in the regular season and aggravated further against Indiana [possibly compensatory]. Derrick Rose wasn't 100%, and Joakim Noah never fully came back from problems he had in the regular season.
Did these guys need more rest? Did they need different physical therapy exercises to build up muscle? Perhaps there was nothing that could be done. Perhaps this simply was what it was.
Or perhaps, there's another answer, and the Bulls need to think out of the box a bit like the Phoenix Suns.
If you have some time check out this article discussing the chronic injuries of Greg Oden and Brandon Roy from a doctor who was sent in to test them, had a plan on how to heal them, had evidence to what was wrong, and was summarily ignored by Blazers management.
The Suns, known to have the best medical staff in the league, follow many of the above concepts. They've taken guys with horrible injury histories like Grant Hill and Michael Redd while keeping a veteran like Steve Nash who's a physically smaller guy playing big minutes at an advanced age as well.
It's time for a review of the system. Nagging injuries were a significant factor in why the Bulls were unable to play at their best last season. They could be a major factor in why they don't when the title this year as well. No one needs to go through and fire everyone in sight, but it is time to take a serious look at what can be done better.
Chicago wouldn't flinch at bringing in a free agent to improve the team on the court, they shouldn't flinch at bringing in someone to upgrade and help reinvent the Bulls training staff either. No one can prevent Derrick Rose from rolling an ankle, but we can prevent the compensatory back, knee, or foot injuries that occur if he does. It's a copycat league, and the Suns have already solved this problem. It's time to copy the solution.
Magic number update
Magic number vs the Heat: 1
Magic number vs the Thunder: 1
Magic number vs the Spurs: 2
Knicks magic number for 7 seed: 2
- Knicks have LAC and @Charlotte
- Philly has @NJ, @Mil, @Detroit (if Philly loses tonight at NJ and Milwaukee wins against Toronto then Milwaukee will still be alive for the playoffs in the second game, if not, Milwaukee will be eliminated)
While the Knicks are rumored to prefer playing the Bulls, they sure didn't act like it on the court when they squeaked past the Hawks under Melo's 42 minutes played. It looks to me that the Knicks are opting to build chemistry rather than tank to get a matchup against Chicago. We'll see what happens down the stretch. New York is a half game up on Philly now (1 in the win column) and owns the tie breaker.