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Sunday, March 3, 2013
Luol Deng might need a root canal

By Nick Friedell

CHICAGO -- Luol Deng is still feeling the effects of an elbow he took to the lower teeth at the end of Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers and might end up having a root canal next week. Deng, who played 44 minutes and scored eight points in the Chicago Bulls’ 96-85 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, admitted he was still dealing with some pain.

"They think I have some internal bleeding a little bit around my jaw," Deng said. "But nothing broken or anything."

Deng caught an elbow from Sixers big man Spencer Hawes that resulted in a trip to the dentist on Friday.

"It was a tough day, man," Deng said. "It was a tough day. Eating-wise, I'm still having a hard time with that.

“I got to wait a few days to see how stable my teeth are and how the recovery is and see if I need a root canal with a few of them … and just see how it's going to go."

Deng has already dealt with a hamstring injury this season and continues to play with a torn ligament in his wrist, so he knows how to deal with pain. He plans to play through all the injuries, but he said he also understands that both the mental and physical grind of playing so many minutes is taxing.

"It's tough," he said. "You're going to have nights when you don't feel great. The thing about it is it's not always going to be the same thing. Some nights, you're going to be feeling great scoring the ball, some nights it's defensively, some nights it's rebounding. But somehow, you got to bring in something to help the team win.”

Deng's teeth problems just add to the injury woes the Bulls are dealing with. Forward Taj Gibson has missed the past three games because of a sprained MCL and will likely be out at least another week. Rip Hamilton has missed the past two games because of a lower back issue and is not expected to travel with the team to Indianapolis for the Bulls' game on Sunday night against the Pacers.