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Friday, December 21, 2012
Luol Deng injures shoulder vs. Knicks

By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com

NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng injured his left shoulder during Friday night's 110-106 win over the New York Knicks and will be re-evaluated Saturday.

Deng, who scored a team-high 29 points, got tangled up with Knicks guard Jason Kidd midway through the third quarter and felt pain shoot up his arm. He had a large ice pack on the shoulder immediately after the game and said it was still sore.

"We're going to check again [Saturday], but I don't know exactly what it is," Deng said. "Something with the ligament there, I don't know if I sprained or ... we'll see. It's almost like a pulled muscle. I never had anything like this, but it just feels like a pulled muscle or a sprained tendon. I really don't know."

Deng wasn't sure whether he would have an MRI once the team landed in Atlanta. He also wasn't sure about his playing status. The Bulls face off against the Hawks on Saturday night.

"We'll see how it feels," he said. "It's sore now. We'll see how it feels [Saturday] morning and then we'll go from there."

As for the play itself, Deng knew something was wrong immediately. He had to be subbed out of the game to be evaluated by trainers but eventually returned a few moments later.

"I was just going up for the shot. He kind of hit my arm as I was going up," Deng said. "I felt it right away in my shoulder, but my arm was just numb. I was worried that my shoulder might be out of place. But after a few minutes, it started to feel a little better. It's sore now, but it's not dislocated or anything like that."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau downplayed the injury, saying Deng was just "nicked up" and thinking he would be fine.

He did not agree that Kidd simply stripped the ball from Deng.

"Some would say stripped," Thibodeau said. "Others would say something else."