Add Carlos Boozer to the expanding list of players who have gone down with a hamstring injury for the Chicago Bulls. That’s right, Boozer is listed as a game time decision for tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks and depending on the intensity of the injury may miss more.
Boozer has refused to admit when he sustained the injury and missed the morning shoot around for the Bulls in preparation for the game.
So what’s the problem here? Well before we jump to conclusions let’s say he misses tonight’s game, that means Taj Gibson starts and takes the responsibility of defending Milwaukee’s big men; Ersan Ilyasova or Larry Sanders. Gibson was retained because of his defensive presence and his offensive potential and I have no doubt that he can handle the defensive task. What I’m worried about is the outcome of the game; Chicago has gone 2-1 in the three games between these two teams with tonight being the final regular season match-up. Boozer has put up big numbers against the Bucks in the three meetings with 22 and 11 the first game, 19 and 19 the second and 22 and 11 in the third game. So he has averaged a double-double in each meeting and that will be missed seeing as Gibson has not come close to that in any of the three meetings.
So what happens if Boozer does play? Well he runs the risk of extenuating his injury as well as risks not playing well. Gibson is capable of playing well and because he only averaged about 17 minutes per game the numbers above may be misleading. If he has the opportunity to play 29-39 minutes per game I can guarantee his numbers will go up.
The Bulls are in good hands either way but they have to be careful. Boozer is averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds this season and having him worsen a supposedly minor injury would hurt the Bulls who are in the midst of the high-life. The Bulls also have to be weary of the fact that they might seeing the Bucks again…in the Playoffs. Yes I am looking ahead a little but Chicago is currently seeded third while Milwaukee is seeded seventh. It is not a stretch to believe that these two teams may meet again in a seven game series and if that’s the case then Chicago needs to dominate tonight.