All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan missed his first game of the season for the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards after straining his right quadriceps.
The injury forced DeRozan to exit Monday’s loss to the Boston Celtics in the third quarter after tripping on the parquet floor and tweaking a lingering injury. DeRozan told reporters in Boston he had been quietly playing through the injury for the previous eight games, dating to late December.
DeRozan traveled with the Bulls to Washington on Tuesday, using the day off to focus on recovery. He was optimistic about his likelihood to play against the Wizards but was listed as doubtful on the Bulls injury report at midday Wednesday before being ruled out two hours before the game.
Coach Billy Donovan told reporters in Washington that DeRozan still was experiencing discomfort in his quad but that the Bulls medical staff did not believe it was a “major strain or major tear.”
DeRozan, who started the first 41 games, prides himself on his durability and ability to play through minor tweaks, saying he refuses to sit out unless the medical staff deems it absolutely necessary. He averaged 26.9 points and five assists in the nine games he played while nursing the quad injury.
DeRozan missed only six games last season due to two bouts with COVID-19 and a coaching decision to sit starters for the regular-season finale ahead of the playoffs.
“If I leave out of a game, it’s something serious,” DeRozan said. “I play through a lot that I don’t mention. My whole career, I’ve been stubborn when it comes to that. I just want to always be on the floor.”