Two weeks have passed since a Miami-based specialist recommended two more weeks of rest for the stress fracture in Luol Deng's right tibia.
And Deng, who didn't accompany the Bulls here, isn't closer to returning.
"It could be [season-ending]," coach Vinny Del Negro said Monday. "You just don't know how it's going to react. We don't want him to come back and really seriously injure himself. He's still got discomfort and pain.
"It's a stress fracture. Until that heals—and that takes time—we'll be smart about it. Luol wants to be out there as much as anybody. But injuries happen and this one is tough."
Still, the Bulls weren't about to apologize for their 101-99 victory over the lowly Washington Wizards in the Verizon Center -- a result immensely more satisfying than the 23-point loss they suffered in their previous visit a month ago with Obama sitting courtside.
"We don't worry about how bad we played in a time like this. We just got to keep trying and getting wins."
-- Bulls guard John Salmons after his team beat the East cellar-dwelling Wiz by two points
The victory increased the Bulls' lead over ninth-place Charlotte to 11/2 games and 10th-place Milwaukee to two games but, more importantly, pulled them to within two games of seventh-seeded Detroit.And Tuesday night just happens to be the first of two remaining games against the Bulls' once most bitter rival.
"If we can get seventh, we'd love to be there," Derrick Rose said. "It's going to take hard work and dedication."