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Bulls’ Alex Caruso ready for return from concussion, shoulder sprain

Caruso ready for return from concussion, shoulder sprain originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago.

If being listed as “probable” on the injury report was not enough, Alex Caruso confirmed after the team’s morning shootaround that he plans to return from a three-game absence when the Chicago Bulls host the Detroit Pistons Friday night.

Caruso hit the shelf during the second quarter of the Bulls’ Dec. 21 victory over the Hawks after colliding hard with Atlanta forward De’Andre Hunter while chasing a loose ball. The impact to his head and neck area landed Caruso in concussion protocol, which he cleared on Wednesday, and also resulted in a sprained right shoulder.

“Nah,” Caruso said when asked if he suspected a concussion in the moment. “I was just trying to figure out who hit me, what knocked me over. Because I literally thought I had the ball in my hands, getting ready for a steal, and then I got hit.

“At the initial time I was just kind of like, my whole right side kind of hurts. Nothing stood out for the most part.”

Caruso termed his concussion “mild” — and actually noted that, based on his past experiences, he thought it should not have been diagnosed. But he appreciated the Bulls’ medical staff prioritizing his safety.

As for the shoulder, Caruso’s rehab has been “slow and steady.” But it culminated with him live scrimmaging against some of the Bulls’ low-minutes players and player development coordinators on Thursday, which he said went well.

“I don’t think there’s anything limited. Maybe just a little bit of pain at the very end range motions, the very extremes. But you don’t really play basketball with those, so it’s not too bad,” he said of his shoulder. “I played yesterday live with some of the low-minute guys. We went 100 percent, full-speed, played pickup. I feel pretty good about it.”

The Bulls, of course, badly missed Caruso as a defensive linchpin in the starting lineup, particularly as their once better-than-expected defensive rating has slipped to 16th. But they did go 2-1 in his absence with impressive comeback wins over the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks. The latter featured overcoming an 11-point deficit in the final 2:18 of the fourth quarter and eventually winning in overtime.

And while even that paled in comparison to the 12-point comeback Caruso’s Texas A&M Aggies stages in the final 44 seconds of a 2016 NCAA Tournament game, he was pleased watching his teammates’ attention to detail in following the defensive gameplan down the stretch (when they held the Bucks to just one field goal in the final 3:18 of regulation).

“Great energy. You feel good for the guys that are out there, because they obviously put a lot into the game. Especially against Milwaukee, you always know they’re gonna be a tough team to play regardless of who’s in, who’s out,” Caruso said.

“I was just happy for the guys that they were able to come together and fight through it, because we’ve seen teams just kind of give up in the NBA down however many points with two minutes left. So I was just really proud of them for fighting until the final whistle.”

Elsewhere on the Bulls’ injury report for Friday’s game: Javonte Green (right knee soreness) is probable, while Coby White (left knee soreness), Patrick Williams (left clavicle contusion) and Derrick Jones Jr. (left ankle sprain) are questionable.

Source : Yahoo