If playing a Philadelphia 76ers team that has won five of its last six games wasn’t hard enough, the Chicago Bulls may be without their starting big man.
According to the latest official injury report, Nikola Vucevic is questionable with hamstring tightness. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson also shared that Vucevic did not practice on Sunday afternoon.
While no one can stop Joel Embiid, it will certainly become that much harder for the Bulls to counterbalance what he has to offer without their starting center on the floor. Vucevic may have struggled mightily in his first two contests against Embiid, but he did find a groove back on February 6th when he scored 23 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
For as up-and-down as his play has been this season, there is no question he brings a presence this team desperately needs. Not only does Vucevic’s mere shotmaking presence add another dynamic layer to this Bulls’ offense, but he is one of the league’s best screeners and a strong interior playmaker. We also can’t forget he continues to be one of the NBA’s best on the defensive glass – a skill the Bulls will surely need against the 76ers’ MVP candidate.
I know we can never say never, but it definitely feels as if Chicago will need Vucevic on the floor to stand a chance against Philly, especially considering James Harden is set to take the court. The recently-acquired All-Star sat out the team’s last matchup with the Miami Heat to rest his hamstring. He was not listed on the team’s injury report this afternoon, however, and the 76ers have yet to lose a game this season with him in the lineup.
Considering the Bulls are on a four-game skid, I think it’s fair to say we will all be anxiously waiting to see if Vucevic’s status is upgraded over the next 24 hours. Fingers-crossed.