Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 1/30/12

The Chicago Bulls lost a close one to the Miami Heat yesterday 97-93 but Chicago did go into that contest without one of their key players -- Luol Deng.

Deng, who suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist,is getting closer to a return to the court for Chicago and according to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, Deng is improving.

"He's getting closer," Thibodeau said of Deng. "He's more aggressive with his moves. Each day, he's adding layers."

This should be great news for Bulls as Deng will be needed for Chicago's playoff run. Let's face it, the Bulls and Heat are on a collision course for the Eastern Conference crown and a healthy Deng would be a solid weapon to throw at the Miami defense.

Prior to his injury, Deng was averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists off 43.1% shooting for Chicago. To break it down further as to how much Deng is important to Chicago, take a look at his usage (via NBA Stats Cube) with Chicago.

As you can see, Deng is a critical cog in the Bulls' machine but more importantly in the short-term Deng much not rush back to the court. In a shortened season, with players succumbing to injuries, a healthy Deng is much more important come the stretch-run for Chicago.

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