Luol Deng will be out 'a while'
Thibodeau described Deng as "week to week" and said no surgery is planned, but it is an option.
"That's always a possibility," Thibodeau said. "The fact is it's his left wrist. After consulting with the doctors, he feels this is the best course of action. So obviously we're pleased that he doesn't have to have the surgery."
An upbeat Deng tried to put a positive spin on the news.
"I know it's a bad injury, and it sounds terrible, but I'll be fine," Deng said.
Asked why he doesn't have surgery now, Deng said the 16-3 Bulls' title chances play a role in his decision.
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Deng injured his wrist in the fourth quarter of the Bulls' win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.
"It could always be worse. Injuries happen," Deng said. "And this happened in the fourth quarter of a game. But it is what is. It's just, 'What do we do from here.' I'm very confident that I'll be fine. It's sore, but the soreness is going down a lot in two days. So every day [I'll] keep treating it and see if I can get rid of the soreness and just try to be back there as soon as possible."
Deng, who is averaging 15.9 points and 7.5 rebounds for the league-leading Bulls, sat out Monday's win over the New Jersey Nets.
"I'm definitely going to miss a few games here," Deng said. "I don't know how many, but I'm very confident the guys will be fine. But as soon as I can be out there, I will be out there."
It's the same injury -- except in the opposite wrist -- Deng suffered as a rookie in 2004-05, when he played 61 games and underwent surgery.
"This time around I'm familiar with it," Deng said. "It's on my left [wrist] which is not like having it on my right. I know how it feels pain-wise. Just trying to get it down to a certain level where I can play again."
Deng said he has spoken with Dr. Susan Scott, who performed the surgery on Deng's right wrist during his rookie season, and sent her the MRI.
Deng is one of several Bulls dealing with injuries. Derrick Rose missed four games with a turf toe injury before playing Monday and said he will be dealing with the pain the rest of the season. Taj Gibson, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, hopes to return Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Joakim Noah missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury but played against the Nets on Monday. And a groin injury has kept backup guard John Lucas III out the past two games.
Despite all the injuries, the Bulls continue to win. They are 8-1 since Rose re-aggravated his toe injury on Jan. 10 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Thibodeau is counting on the Bulls' depth to get them through the loss of Deng.
"We've got more than enough to win with," Thibodeau said. "I thought Ronnie [Brewer] was terrific. [Brian] Scalabrine was terrific. Kyle [Korver] has played big minutes for us. Jimmy [Butler] can play. So we have a roster full of guys who can play. So we're confident in their abilities."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.