Time isn’t the friend of this M.A.S.H unit known as the Chicago Bulls.
There are six games left in the regular season and there are more unhealthy bodies than healthy ones.
Derrick Rose (left knee rehab) is still in the “out indefinitely” category. Rose says he’s still open to playing this season, but a return at this point feels very unlikely.
Rip Hamilton (back spasms) reportedly practiced yesterday with no setbacks, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said last week that Hamilton is “not real close” to returning.
Taj Gibson (sprained left knee) also practiced without any issues yesterday, but he remains out indefinitely. That Gibson didn’t tear his MCL may have been the best news the Bulls have had this season — it’s been that kind of year — but there’s been no indication when he’ll start playing again. I’ve heard everything from “not until the playoffs” to “could be this week.”
Thibs says that Luol Deng’s sore hip is “better,” although Deng will probably sit out tonight’s game against the Raptors. The Bulls seem intent on giving Deng — who leads the NBA in minutes per game (39.2) — some rest and relaxation before the playoffs.
Said Deng: “I feel like I need it, especially because I think we learned a lot from last year. Fatigue toward the end of the year makes it easy to pick up injuries. We don’t want that with everyone coming back. We just want to be as healthy as we can.”
Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) said he woke up with pain after playing in Detroit on Sunday and has acknowledged that he will simply have to play in pain until the offseason.
Then there’s Joakim Noah.
The plantar faciitis in Noah’s right foot hasn’t gotten any better, and it probably won’t until he has extended time off. In other words, after the Bulls’ season has ended. Even worse, Thibodeau says that Noah suffered “a little bit of a setback” when he played against the Pistons on Sunday.
Said Thibs: “It’s a tough one. You never really know with that type of injury.”
And it’s not for a lack of trying to heal on Noah’s part. He’s done about everything short of consulting a witch doctor, and that includes getting an injection of platelet-rich plasma. Said Noah: “I’m doing everything: Massage, sleep in a splint, ice … If you got any remedies you want to give me I’ll probably do it.”
Maybe Noah should ask Bill Walton about that special rock in the Philippines that breaks curses.
All the Bulls can do right now is rest the guys who are hurt and play the ones who can still walk straight and breath relatively normally.
Said Thibs: “We don’t want anyone to play who is injured. At this time of the year, there are a lot of guys that are hurting that will play, but if a guy is injured we don’t want him out there. … Whoever we have, that’s who we’re going with. We have more than enough to win.”
I think we all saw that last part coming.
I’m gonna go ask God when the Bulls can get their players back…
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