Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng has revealed that he played through the pain barrier with an Achilles problem for more than a week before finally being forced to miss a match, Saturday's 92-75 defeat to the Detroit Pistons.
Deng sat out that disappointing loss with a sore left Achilles, which he has revealed was initially sustained against Detroit in their previous meeting on November 27.
The Great Britain international is the latest in a long line of key Bulls players to be sidelined, with Derrick Rose out for the rest of the season and Jimmy Butler also struggling with a toe problem.
After undergoing an MRI scan Deng has been able to rule out any serious long-term damage, while revealing that he is desperate to return at the earliest possible opportunity.
He told CSN Chicago: "A lot of swelling and it’s still got a lot of swelling. The way it happened, it’s kind of weird.
"A guy fell, kind of stepped on the side of my leg, and kind of twisted my ankle. He stepped on my Achilles’, like kind of tweaked it a little bit. That’s how it really flared up to begin with.
“I want to get back as soon as I can. We’re going to just treat it these next two days and my mindset is to be ready for the next game. If I feel like I can run out there, I will play."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will monitor Deng closely in the hope he can return to the starting line-up tomorrow night, when Milwaukee Bucks visit the United Center.
Chicago currently sit in the final Eastern Conference play-off spot but only hold a .444 record, winning eight of their 18 matches in a frustrating start to the season.