Time off for Bulls veteran DeMar DeRozan has been blessing in disguise

PARIS – DeMar DeRozan doesn’t exactly love interruptions to his regiment.

There’s a flow to an NBA season, and any little disruption in that becomes a distraction.

This week, DeRozan’s willing to make an exception.

It isn’t often that the forward gets to pack up his five kids – four daughters and one son – for an in-season road trip, but that’s exactly what he did for Thursday’s upcoming NBA Paris Game between the Bulls and the Detroit Pistons.

“To be able to be here and experience that as a basketball player is amazing,” DeRozan said. “And then to have my son and my daughters here to witness it is an awesome thing. I’m going to get a feel and experience with them with us having a day off [from practice on Tuesday]. Obviously the Eiffel Tower … just everything about [Paris], trying the food, taking some tea home. Just taking it all in.”

As DeRozan pointed out, not bad for a guy from Compton, who as a boy would have never imagined playing in Paris.

“No, never have I ever, ever [imagined it], so that’s another reason why it’s so cool to even be here,” DeRozan said. “It just shows you how far playing basketball can take you.”

But there is also a basketball side of this week that actually plays in DeRozan’s favor. While he usually would hate playing just one game over a seven-day span, because of his ailing right quadriceps, the schedule works for him in the recovery department.

While DeRozan went down in the third quarter of the Jan. 9 loss in Boston, he had been dealing with soreness with the quad for weeks before that. The Celtics game just compounded it.

DeRozan missed the next three games, watching the Bulls lose to Washington and Oklahoma City, before getting back on track against Golden State on Sunday, but he now has the luxury of another three off days to get the leg right without missing any more games.

If the Bulls did have to play on Tuesday, rather than explore Paris with their families, DeRozan admittedly didn’t know if he could go.

That’s not the case for Thursday.

“For sure, yeah,” DeRozan responded when asked if he was playing.

According to coach Billy Donovan, DeRozan did participate in parts of the light Monday practice, continued getting treatment on Tuesday, and then would really push it in Wednesday’s scheduled practice to make sure that he has no setbacks.

But all indications were the Bulls would have their leading scorer back.

“It’s an experience that’s one of a kind,” DeRozan said. “I’ve been in the league 14 years and I’ve never been to Paris. So to come here and be able to compete, and do something in front of a fan base you don’t get the chance to do something in front of, I don’t take the opportunity for granted one bit. It’s the experience that lasts a lifetime.”

Ball-ing out

While Lonzo Ball (left knee surgery) made the trip to Paris with teammates this week, they might not want to get used to seeing him on the road just yet.

Ball, who was yet to play this season after undergoing a second knee procedure in less than a year back in September, will still continue doing his rehab in Chicago when the team returns on Friday. The trip to France was the exception, with Ball usually able to get more done at the Advocate Center than on the road.

“Obviously I’ve got to work through [discomfort],” Ball said of the process. “There’s going to be pain there because of the surgeries and I’m getting back in and moving things, but I’m just trying to stay positive and move forward.”

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