With the Bulls brass brandishing shovels this week, it was a chance for some kind of update on the Bulls that were injured as the season closed, and Jon Greenberg did the best he could.
There was no 'all clear' on anybody, but: Deng and Noah are traveling and 'doing better', while Hinrich's working out at the Berto Center (as is Derrick Rose). What was interesting was John Paxson acknowledging the importance of team health and seemingly not considering success in that area something they can't try to control better:
When you look at the teams that are still playing, or played into the conference finals, they're pretty much healthy," Paxson said. "We need to find a way to minimize the risk of injury and pay attention to that. This summer will be good for our guys."
Does this mean the team is looking to change philosophies or lay down ground rules with Thibodeau? Maybe, but Paxson wouldn't elaborate.
"Nothing new, but we need to be more detailed and in-depth with our guys," Paxson said. "Our training staff is terrific and our medical people are outstanding. I do think that a guy like (Luol Deng) doesn't have commitments this summer, Derrick's had the year to improve his body and will be working out all summer. Our guys know how to work the right way. We have to be confident we're putting things in place where we'll be healthy next year."
As mentioned by Greenberg, Deng may be having a far less-intense offseason than prior, but is also not having surgery on his wrist. Gar Forman mentioned the possibility of 'all options' (including surgery) for Noah's feet issues, but they haven't evaluated it with him yet. In a radio interview earlier this month, I found it interesting that Pax also mentioned addressing Noah's footwear as a possibly way to combat his injury issues.
(I also found it interesting that at that time, a question about Hinrich's injury was completely sidestepped as 'on of the two weirdest injuries' he's ever seen, heh.)
Throughout the Thibodeau era, there has been steadfast support of the head coach from the front office on the minutes load placed on players (including those battling injury). As it says above, Pax wasn't directly addressing that exact possible factor of team health, but it's encouraging that they're looking at the entire problem as more than just poor luck. They may not be able to get solutions (or if they do: they may not make a difference, as injuries do just happen sometimes), but at least addressing a problem and being armed with the trainer of the year sounds like a start.