With Andre Drummond’s return, Bulls get their glass-cleaner back

The veteran center missed six games with a sprained left shoulder but finally made his return against New Orleans on Wednesday. The hope was that Coby White (thigh bruise) would soon follow.

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The Bulls’ Andre Drummond defends against Willy Hernangomez  of the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Bulls’ Andre Drummond defends against Willy Hernangomez of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

With 2:32 left in the first quarter Wednesday at the United Center, the Bulls had their glass-cleaner back.

After missing six games with a sprained left shoulder, veteran big man Andre Drummond finally showed enough mobility during the pregame warmup to return to action.

Despite some rust, Drummond quickly grabbed two rebounds in five minutes. He finished with five rebounds in 12 minutes in the Bulls’ 115-111 loss to the Pelicans.

Coach Billy Donovan was just glad to have Drummond back out there.

“[We missed him] on the glass, rebounding,’’ Donovan said. “He’s been an elite rebounder. Going back to that Raptors game in Toronto, we really got hurt with the impact he would or would not have made.

“He’s another screener, a guy that can roll and put pressure at the basket. He’s been a really positive addition for us, and for the minutes he’s gotten, he’s played really well.’’

That’s a bit of an understatement.

In 16.8 minutes per game entering Wednesday, Drummond was averaging 10.2 rebounds. That average would translate to about 20 per game if he were a 30-minute guy.

He also led the Bulls in player-efficiency rating at 22.81, just in front of DeMar DeRozan’s 21.39.

Donovan really has liked how Drummond has worked off the bench, especially with the second unit. The Bulls’ top five in plus-minus are all bench players, led by Alex Caruso and his plus-71. Drummond was fifth, sporting a plus-29.

Even with Drummond’s return, the Bulls were playing a bit short-handed against New Orleans with Coby White still sidelined with a thigh bruise.

The Bulls are off until Sunday, and Donovan was hoping that White would be ready by then.

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