Deng says jammed finger 'nothing serious'

OAKLAND -- Luol Deng was wearing tape over the middle and ring fingers on his right hand during Wednesday's practice, but he said he would be ready to go when the Bulls take on the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night.

The veteran forward injured the fingers during Monday night's game against the Golden State Warriors and feared he might have to have an x-ray, but none were taken.

"It's fine," Deng said after Wednesday's practice. "I jammed it a little bit ... it's nothing that serious."

Deng, who played in all 82 games last season, feels like he has prepared himself as well as he can for the scheduling onslaught coming the Bulls' way over the next four months.

“I learned a lot last year,” Deng said. “I played in all the games. I played a lot of minutes. And I really had to do a good job taking care of my body and making sure I'm getting my rest. It's going to be the same thing this year and I think all the guys are aware of it. And the coaches and trainers and everything, they're making sure they keep telling us that. They're making sure we're staying on top of it and making sure we take care of our body."

Boozer and Noah trying to find rhythm: Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah combined for just 13 points in Monday night's loss and are clearly still trying to find a rhythm on the defensive end. Thibodeau addressed both player's individual progress after Wednesday's practice.

"[Boozer is like everybody, we've been up and down,” Thibodeau said. “We got to get a consistency where we can effectively execute it at both ends of the floor.

"[For Noah,] some good, some not so good. It's like our whole team right now. I thought he was active in the last game. I want him to be who he is. I think he's playing really good defense. His defense has really come around. His rebounding was better in the last game But offensively I want him to run the floor more. I think he could outrun people. And he's a guy that could get us some easy buckets. We want to take advantage of that."

As far as Boozer goes, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose knows how important it is for him to get the power forward involved earlier in the game.

"With the offense that we run with [Carlos] we've got to run more drags," Rose said. "So everybody knows that we've got to play hard."

The last word:

"We just got to compete harder than we've been competing. It was a great win against the Lakers, but we feel like we can still improve and play better than we have defensively and offensively." -- Noah