CHICAGO — Bulls star Derrick Rose says his sprained left big toe might bother him the rest of the season. It didn't keep him out of Monday night's game, though.
The reigning NBA MVP was back in the lineup for Chicago against Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets after missing the previous four games, but Bulls forward Luol Deng sat out with a sprained left wrist.
Besides Deng, the Bulls were also without Taj Gibson (sprained left ankle). Joakim Noah (sprained left ankle) returned to the lineup after missing a game. Backup guard John Lucas III has also been bothered by a strained left groin.
Nets guard MarShon Brooks was a late scratch because of a sore right Achilles tendon and was replaced in the lineup by Anthony Morrow.
Rose said the toe "is never going to be right this year." But he said he "felt decent" during Monday's shootaround and was able to start.
The news on Deng wasn't great, with coach Tom Thibodeau saying he was "still consulting some doctors" and remains day to day after being injured late in Saturday's game against Charlotte. Asked if Deng would need surgery, Thibodeau said, "I don't know. I don't think so, would be my guess."
Losing Deng for an extended period would be a big blow for a team that entered Monday's game with the league's best record. He tore a ligament in his right wrist near the end of his 2004-05 rookie season.
"You can't say enough about what he brings to our team in all areas," Thibodeau said. "You start with his leadership and toughness and the fact that he's our best defender, guards multiple positions. He plays to win."