Ben Wallace did not practice today due to a stiff neck. He is listed as day-to-day for tomorrow?s game versus the Hornets at Oklahoma City.
November 2006 Chicago Bulls Wiretap
Ben Wallace played last night against the Knicks despite what he identified to the Chicago Tribune as ligament damage and a chipped bone in his right hand, which he suffered Saturday.
That is more serious than the sprained right index finger and wrist contusion the team announced Monday.
LeBron James doesn't understand why the Bulls are making such a big fuss about a headband.
"I know Ben Wallace has been wearing a headband for long time. I have worn a headband for a long time, probably from when I was 13 years old until now," James said.
"It is a routine. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't wear one. If it is something you have been doing your whole life -- it doesn't matter what field you're in, athletics or the business side -- if someone comes and tells you to switch your routine up, it is going to mess up your work.
"I'd be upset if they had some rule about it here. I don't know why it is such a problem," James said. "It's not disrespecting anybody, it's not thinking you're bigger than anyone on the team. Hey, certain people must have their own rules."
Ben Wallace has met with John Paxson about his recent insubordination, but does not regret wearing a headband.
"I knew that we weren't allowed to wear the headbands," Wallace said. "If you know the rules and break them, you expect to be punished. I can't try to put myself above the team or anybody else and wear a headband like I did. I'm man enough to take the punishment. But I'm not sorry."
He does not regret signing with the Bulls, but is far from comfortable.
"There are times I'm used to doing things and having my teammates play off me," Wallace said. "We're not at that point yet. I can't be as aggressive as I want. Guys don't really know my tendencies. I can't put them in a bad situation by being overaggressive and they don't know what I'm doing. As we play more and get to know each other better, we can step outside the box.
"Anytime you don't win, you talk to your friends and it's a different conversation. It's just that we need to win games. I think if you win games, everything seems to be better. Your meal tastes better. Your trip to practice rides better. Your car rides smoother. Your music sounds better."
John Paxson, GM of the Chicago Bulls, spoke at length with Ben Wallace for a second straight day Monday, trying to make sure Wallace's insubordination from last Saturday night didn't continue.
"I don't expect this to cause our team to fracture, which is always something you worry about," Paxson said.
"Every year, Scott and I go over the team handbook," Paxson said. "If there are things we want to change, we change them. That rule was borne out of some things I saw when I first got the job that didn't look good. It was more out of uniformity than anything else. It wasn't to take an individual's personality away from the game. Anything can be revisited. But I'm not saying that rule is going to be revisited tomorrow."
Ben Wallace sustained a mild injury to his right wrist and index finger in the first half of the New York game on Saturday, Nov. 25.
He was evaluated on Monday by Dr. John Fernandez, a hand/wrist specialist at Rush University Medical Center, and was found to have a sprain to his right index finger and a contusion of his right wrist. Wallace is listed as day-to-day.
The frustration behind Ben Wallace's insubordination Saturday night has been brewing since the first week of training camp, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to league and Bulls sources, Wallace has felt unfairly singled out by team rules that have taken away his pregame music, his headband and his tape-free ankles.
Sources said Wallace became upset early in training camp when Skiles enforced a team rule to tape ankles. Wallace never taped his ankles when he played for Detroit.
General manager John Paxson is to talk Monday after practice about Wallace's breaking a team rule by wearing a headband in Saturday's victory over the Knicks. However, Wallace is expected to miss practice because he needs an MRI on his right wrist and fingers after injuring them in the second quarter in New York.
What annoyed Wallace, a source close to the player said, is that he wasn't informed of the no-headband rule until after he signed his four-year, $60 million free-agent deal.
Bulls management considers itself to have minimal rules. Most just seem to have rubbed Wallace the wrong way, which could be manifesting itself in his uneven play.
According to the Tribune, Wallace might get more touches in an attempt to jump-start his defensive play.
Blatantly defying coach Scott Skiles' team rule prohibiting headbands, Ben Wallace broke one out to match the Bulls' road uniforms Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Thirteen games into a four-year contract that will pay him $60 million, Wallace and Skiles are at odds, according to the Chicago Tribune.
One night after Wallace played a season-low 19 minutes, 38 seconds, Skiles removed Wallace just 2:02 after tipoff for breaking the team rule.
Is Skiles' worried Wallace' insubordination will become an issue? "No," he said after the game. "I don't know why. I'm just not."
Skiles wouldn't comment on why his rule is in effect. Wallace wouldn't comment on if he agreed with it.
"Man, I don't care about that," Wallace said. "All I know is we got the win."
Asked if he understood why he was benched, Wallace looked downward. "Ask [Skiles]," he said. "Coach makes the decisions. I just play."
After Wallace was removed, assistant Ron Adams went to talk to him. Fellow assistant Pete Myers, Wallace's closest confidant, subsequently followed suit. Finally, assistant Jim Boylan, Skiles' right-hand man, visited him. And, still, the headband remained.
When Wallace finally removed it, during a deadball situation with 2:41 left in the first quarter, Skiles called for him to re-enter. But the turmoil didn't end there.
Wallace slipped the headband back on just before the second half was set to start. Skiles immediately sent Malik Allen to the scorer's table before play began.
When Wallace again removed the headband during a timeout with 5:46 left in the third, he re-entered just 81 seconds later.
At this point, Boylan had taken over as coach after official Tim Donaghy ejected Skiles with two quick technical fouls 56 seconds into the third.
Chicago coach Scott Skiles was ejected early in the third quarter of a game against the New York Knicks on Saturday night, even though the Bulls led by 23 points at the time.
Skiles was charged with his first technical for arguing a foul on Knicks rookie Renaldo Balkman. Steve Francis then hit the free throw, but Skiles continued his argument and was immediately thrown out of the game with the Bulls leading the Knicks 58-35.
Ben Wallace, who entered last night's game against the Sixers averaging 10.3 rebounds, failed to grab a rebound for the first time since Feb. 17, 1999. That's a span of more than six full seasons and roughly 500 regular-season games.
After the carnage, which featured the most points allowed in Skiles' 242 games as Bulls coach, Skiles downplayed questions on the Bulls' $60 million man.
"I don't feel comfortable putting the emphasis on a guy that's played for us for 12 games, no matter who that guy is," Skiles said. "Let's put the focus on the guys who have been here that should be carrying the team. That's their responsibility. And that is to play the way we play and get the other guys to play that way."
Wallace was also scoreless in just under 20 minutes of action.