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Alex Caruso injury: Bulls guard (ankle) available to play vs. Heat on Friday

SportsAlex Caruso injury: Bulls guard (ankle) available to play vs. Heat on Friday


Alex Caruso will be in lineup for the Chicago Bulls when they face the Miami Heat with a playoff spot on the line on Friday. Caruso sprained his left ankle in Chicago’s first Play-In game on Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks and was initially listed as questionable, but was upgraded to available on the 5:30 p.m. ET injury report.

At shootaround on Friday morning, Caruso said that he expected to play, per the Chicago Tribune’s Julia Poe.

“There’s nothing to hold back,” Caruso told the Tribune. “Just re-lock in and understand that if you lose, the season’s over. And if you win, you get to keep playing. There’s nothing else to say.”

The injury took place in the second quarter of the Bulls’ 131-116 win, and it was a bizarre one: With the Hawks in transition, Andre Drummond, Caruso’s teammate, plowed right through Caruso as he tried to get back on defense. Drummond, a 6-foot-11 center listed at 279 pounds, knocked the 6-foot-5, 186-pound guard to the floor, where he winced in pain for a moment. After trying to walk it off, Caruso limped over to Chicago’s bench and then the locker room. While he attempted to play in the second half, he could only manage little over two minutes before exiting the game again.

After the game, Caruso said it was the same foot he had been having issues with toward the end of the regular season. He missed the Bulls’ games on April 7 against the Orlando Magic and April 12 against the Washington Wizards with what the team termed a left ankle contusion.

“[Drummond] caught me on my right foot that kinda gave out [and] my left one tried to catch me,” Caruso said. “Just kind of tweaked my ankle a little bit — that same one I was dealing with for the last couple weeks of the season that we were managing and figuring out.”

Chicago persevered without Caruso in the second half against a Hawks team that didn’t put up too much of a fight, but its second win-or-go-home game will be a different challenge. Even though Miami will be without Jimmy Butler, who sprained the MCL in his right knee on Wednesday, the Bulls would like to have as many weapons as possible when they try to keep their season alive on the road.

“Offensively and defensively, Miami on paper might not have as many weapons as the Hawks in the frontcourt at least, but they still have capable guys,” Caruso told the Tribune. “They have a history of making shots. Miami’s a well-coached team and organization. They’re going to be prepared, and we understand that no matter who plays for them, they’ll have a game plan.”

The defensive impact Caruso makes can’t be overstated. He’s Chicago’s best perimeter defender and, when needed, can hold his own against bigger opponents, too. When he was on the floor during the regular season, the Bulls allowed seven fewer points per 100 possessions than when he sat, and he averaged a career-high 10.1 points on just over 40% shooting from 3-point range. There isn’t someone who can immediately step in and fill his shoes, so Chicago has to be relieved that he’s feeling healthy enough to lace ’em up.





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