Deng could be out for rest of year

CHICAGO -- Forward Luol Deng will likely miss the rest of the season because of a stress fracture in his right tibia, unless the Chicago Bulls make a long playoff run.

General manager John Paxson said Thursday that the Bulls want to avoid surgery so they're using "total caution." Paxson spoke before the Bulls played Philadelphia.

Deng, who's averaging 14.1 points and 6.0 rebounds, hasn't played since Feb. 28 and recently suffered a setback in his recovery. Even so, he expressed some hope this week that he might be able to return during the playoffs, but that appears unlikely.

Paxson said before the Bulls played Philadelphia that "it's likely that he's done for the year because we want to give him the time to heal."

Forward Tim Thomas missed his second game because of a family issue. The Bulls signed rookie guard DeMarcus Nelson for the remainder of the season. He appeared in 20 games in the NBA Development League this season, most recently with the Austin Toros.