Carlos Boozer has been cleared for takeoff. Almost.
"The ankle is feeling pretty good," he said after Friday's Bulls practice.
does that mean he'll play Saturday against Cleveland? Asked to put his
status in NFL injury terms, Boozer passed on whether he'd be listed as
"I don't know what the word is," he said, "but barring any setbacks, I'll be in there tomorrow."
injured the ankle last Saturday against Miami and said it ballooned to
"about the size of a grapefruit. I iced it all night long and the next
3-4 days. The swelling has gone way, way, way down."
Carlos Boozer, averaging 20.1 PPG and 10.1 RPG this season, has missed 18 of the Bulls' 43 games this season.
With fellow frontcourt mate Joakim Noah also out, the Bulls offense has looked putrid compared to the numbers they were putting up with just Boozer in the lineup.
Since Boozer injured his ankle against the Miami Heat in the final seconds of the game, the Bulls are 2-1, beating the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks, while losing to the Charlotte Bobcats. However, the Bulls have scored an average of 87 points the past three games without Boozer, and have scored 83 and 82 points the past two games.
It's clear the Bulls are struggling offensively without their 20 PPG low-post presence, but it's been their defense that's kept them in games.
Boozer says he'll be good to go barring a setback, but honestly, I'd assume the Bulls would be very cautious with him returning tomorrow night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs, at 8-33, stink. They have the worst record in the NBA, and don't have the talent to hang with the Bulls even if Boozer is out.
It'd be smart for the Bulls to hold Boozer out tomorrow and gear him up for the Monday night game against the divison-rival Milwaukee Bucks. Although, as in all sports, players want to play when they feel they're healthy, so I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Boozer plays tomorrow night even though the Bulls play such an inferior opponent.
Ankle injuries can be tricky, but tomorrow night's game won't be decided by the presence of Boozer. Boozer or no Boozer, the Bulls should blow out the league-worst Cavs. Should the Bulls really throw Boozer out there in a game that's practically meaningless?