Andre Drummond is set to return to the Chicago Bulls lineup after getting ‘very antsy’ recovering from a shoulder injury – The Denver Post

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Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond is eager to return to the court for the first time in six games Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The veteran center missed nearly two weeks with a shoulder sprain, describing his days of mandated rest as an anxious waiting period before he was cleared to return for the game at the United Center.

“Everybody knows I don’t miss too many games in my career,” Drummond said. “Six games in a row was a lot for me. I was getting very antsy, especially watching at home.”

Drummond returned to practice for the first time in nearly two weeks during Wednesday’s shootaround, running through several four-on-four scrimmages to close a nearly two-hour training session.

Although he still is feeling discomfort, Drummond said he felt confident in his shoulder heading into the game.

“I feel pretty good,” Drummond said. “I’m going to give it a try tonight, see how I feel. Still a little nicks and pains, but nothing I can’t tolerate.”

The sprain initially occurred Oct. 28 against the Spurs in San Antonio. Drummond drove into Spurs forward Josh Collins in the third quarter, tumbling to the floor with a violent crash onto his left shoulder that allowed no time to brace himself for the impact.

At the time, Drummond attempted to play through the pain, convincing coach Billy Donovan to put him back into the final quarter of the game.

“That’s pure adrenaline,” Drummond said.

Pain set in quickly after that adrenaline faded. By the end of the night, Drummond said he lost complete mobility in his shoulder and couldn’t lift his arm over his head or perpendicular to his body. The medical staff confined the center to complete immobility to allow his shoulder to fully recover, which kept him from practicing or traveling to games.

“It was just stationary,” Drummond said. “I couldn’t move it. It wasn’t a fun feeling. But we have a great staff here, they got me back a lot faster than I expected.”

Although it didn’t last as long as initially feared, Drummond’s absence was felt by the Bulls — especially on the offensive glass. The Bulls dropped from averaging 11.7 offensive rebounds (11th in the league) to 9.8 (16th overall) during the center’s injury. Drummond averages 10.2 total rebounds per game.

But even without their secondary big man, the Bulls are starting the season with an improved defensive presence. The Bulls have the fifth-best defensive rating (108.3) in the league through the first 12 games of the season despite a 6-6 record.

The defensive improvement is centered on the team’s commitment to defense around the rim, limiting teams to only 11.3 second-chance points per game (third in the league) and 48.0 points in the paint (14th in the league) — which should be bolstered by Drummond’s return.

“Last year I wasn’t here but for them that was a big factor — a lot of offensive rebounds and a lot of blow-by’s,” Drummond said. “We took that personally throughout training camp and we’re showing it now.”

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