Originally created 01/11/00

Bulls lose two guards, pick up another two



DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Somehow, this motto doesn't have quite the same ring as "Three-peat."

"Win a game, lose a guard," Chicago Bulls coach Tim Floyd said after Monday's practice. "That's how it's been. ... We win 20, we're going to lose 20."

Floyd was kidding -- or was he?

With the Bulls' backcourt already depleted by injuries, they got more bad news Monday. B.J. Armstrong, who missed the first 15 games of the season recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, will be out at least two weeks after reinjuring it Saturday. Corey Benjamin will miss at least two games with an ankle injury.

As for those already out, Hersey Hawkins can practice but won't be ready for Tuesday's game at New York. Fred Hoiberg tried to go Monday but he's still not ready. Randy Brown isn't even well enough to practice.

That leaves the Bulls with Matt Maloney at point guard. He signed Friday and has gone through one full practice. Chicago also signed guards Chris Carr and Dedric Willoughby to 10-day contracts Monday.

"Matt Maloney made some shots and looked good because the ball went into the basket, but now ... he's got to orchestrate an offense," Floyd said. "That's a whole other world."

Not one Chicago really wants to visit, either. Life was starting to get better for the beleaguered Bulls, who only a week ago were looking like serious threats to the NBA's all-time futility mark. They had Toni Kukoc back, the new guys were finally settling in and they put three wins together for the first time since the 1998 NBA Finals.

And then, this.

"It's like a revolving door around here," said Willoughby, who is back with Chicago after being released last Tuesday. "People come in and out. Hopefully it won't be like that for long."

Don't count on it. Though Armstrong could be back in two weeks, Floyd didn't sound optimistic.

"There's a loose body in his knee area," Floyd said. "At the very least, they'd just go in there and do an incision, pull the loose body out and he'd be back in two weeks. They're hoping it's not worse ..."

While Carr, Maloney and Willoughby at least give the Bulls bodies, being able to play only goes so far. Chicago's triangle offense can't be picked up in a couple of days, so it will be a while before the new guys know what they're supposed to be doing on the floor. It will take some time to adjust defensively, too.

"What we do requires some time," Floyd said. "Guys just can't show up and play. But they're going to play."

As if Chicago's roster woes aren't bad enough, 10 of the Bulls' next 13 games are against teams .500 or better.