The Bulls have some good news, following Monday’s controversial loss vs. Denver, and that’s Taj Gibson plans to play Wednesday vs. Portland if there are no setbacks with how his left knee is feeling.
Gibson has missed the last 10 games after spraining his left MCL during the fourth quarter of a Feb. 24 loss in Oklahoma City. The forward did a lot more in practice today, pushing the knee in wind sprint drills and scrimmaging against his teammates. The determining factor that could hinder his return is how the knee responds tomorrow.
“I felt great today, had a great scrimmage, great practice, felt good to be back out there with the guys,” Gibson said. “I’m just looking forward to just trying to come back and play.”
Kirk Hinrich has missed the past seven games with a stress reaction in his right foot. Coach Tom Thibodeau said the veteran point guard did more in practice and is feeling better, but is still day-to-day.
New acquisition Malcolm Thomas was in practice and should suit up tomorrow.Richard Hamilton is still out with a back injury and Derrick Rose went through all of practice and his status.
As far as Rose making his return possibly during the two remaining games of this home stand, Thibodeau continued to reiterate his stance that when the point guard is ready, he’ll be rejoin the team.
“Whenever he’s ready, he has to feel good for a while. That’s the most important thing,” Thibodeau said. “When he does finally go on the floor, we want him to be comfortable. Whatever the circumstances are, you have to make the best of those circumstances. There’s limited minutes – that’s fine, too. We’ll see. I don’t want to jump ahead. I just want him to keep making the progress that he’s making. He feels a little bit better each day and that’s the most important thing. In many ways, nothing has changed from the standpoint of our players have to continue to focus on daily improvement. I think the big thing at this time of the season is it’s the grind of the season and you’re fighting mental fatigue as well as physical fatigue. And that’s what we have to clean up, so we can continue to improve and play our best down the stretch.
“His game is explosion, stop and go, so he has to feel very good about that. It’s very unique. It’s power, speed, quickness, agility and a combination of all those things. His change of direction is such a big part of his game; he’s got to make sure that he’s completely ready to do that. He’s handled his part great.”
Thibodeau said that Rose has had some very good practices and whenever he does return, there is a general parameter for how minutes will be allotted, but remained that he has to continue putting in the work to where he’s back comfortable with his abilities. He also gave a glimpse into what the team has seen from him during the scrimmages.
“He’s mixing his game up extremely well right now,” Thibodeau said. “He’s got the shot and the drive going. It’s good but that’s also who he is. Each year, when you look at his game, he’s never satisfied. That’s what makes him so special. It’s not all the talent he has, but it’s also the drive.
“He’s had some very good practices. The best thing about his game is he makes the game easy for everyone else. He demands so much attention and he creates easy scoring opportunities for everybody. And that’s the mark of superstars; the ability to make others better and he does that on both ends.”