DeMar DeRozan out vs. Pelicans with groin strain


DeMar DeRozan will miss the Chicago Bulls' Thursday night road matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans with a left adductor (groin) strain, the team announced via its injury report.

Head coach Billy Donovan said DeRozan received imaging on the area, which revealed a "mild strain." The injury isn't considered serious.

"I think he was experiencing some tightness [there] for a little bit, but nothing more than tightness," Donovan said. "And then I think — I don't know if it was a specific play — but (he) definitely started to feel it a little bit more than just being tight after the [Bulls' 128-96 loss to the Bucks on Tuesday].

"DeMar knows his body better than anybody else. I think he felt like, 'OK this could get into something else a little bit more significant if I don't take care of this.' That's why they wanted to do the imaging and they found out it's a mild strain really all it is right now... We just don't want it to turn into something bigger."

This is just DeRozan's fifth absence of the season. He missed three games with COVID-19 in December and one to rest in late January.

The Bulls enter the Pelicans game with a 2-2 record in DeRozan's missed games this season, including wins over the Nuggets and Thunder and losses to the Cavaliers and Heat.

Regardless of who Donovan slides into the starting lineup in DeRozan's place, manufacturing offense could be an issue. DeRozan not only averages 27.6 points per game, the Bulls' offensive rating has also dipped from 113.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the court to 104.3 with him off so far this season — roughly the difference between the league's sixth-best offense and a bottom-three unit.

The Pelicans own the NBA's fourth-best defensive rating in 13 games since the All-Star break.

Thursday's matchup continues a five-game Bulls road trip that makes stops in Milwaukee, New Orleans, Cleveland, New York and Washington. Losers of nine of their last 12 games — and sitting just one game from sixth and two from seventh in the Eastern Conference — every contest matters.

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