THE Chicago Bulls could get a timely boost in their quest to make the cut in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
Initially ruled out for the rest of the regular season, Dwyane Wade has sparked hopes for a return before the end of the regular season with his fractured elbow healing faster than anticipated during rehab.
Wade went through practice for the first time since getting injured against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 15, going through full-contact scrimmage that had Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg optimistic that the three-time NBA champ can make it back before the end of the regular season.
Hoiberg said Wade won’t play on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) against the Philadelphia 76ers, but is not ruling out the Bulls star from suiting up on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, especially if the soreness in Wade’s elbow is gone by game-time.
"He went through part of the contact in practice today and he looked good," Hoiberg told reporters on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
"Guys were out there - a good, spirited workout. Dwyane was able to participate in a lot of the contact drills. The big thing for him right now is getting his conditioning and wind and timing back, but it was great to see him out there and part of our scrimmage," he added.
The Bulls (38-40) are in a three-way tie for 7th place in the East with the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. The skidding Atlanta Hawks are just a game and a half ahead of Chicago, Indiana, and Miami.
Hoiberg, though, is unsure of Wade’s return by Saturday until he sees how the 14-year vet’s body responds to the intense practice sessions in the next two days. But the Chicago coach is certain that Wade will play with a minute restriction when he does decide to activate the Bulls star guard.
Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo is set for an MRI on his swollen right wrist on Wednesday following a bad fall in Tuesday’s loss to the New York Knicks.
"He just kind of fell on it wrong. Just caused a little bit of swelling in there so he'll get the MRI today and we'll know more in a few hours," said Hoiberg.
"Right now it just doesn't feel right. It's an important part of my game, [with] my hands so I want to make sure it's right, get the results back, get treatment and go from there,” added Rondo, who wore a brace on his injured wrist on Wednesday.