Bulls

Ankle injury makes Gibson's status uncertain

Ankle injury makes Gibson's status uncertain

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Updated 4:31 AM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

PHOENIX Just prior to Wednesdays tip-off, Bulls starting power forward Taj Gibson was ruled out for the teams thrilling double-overtime win over the Suns. Gibson suffered a right ankle injury previously misidentified as a foot injury, prompting initial concerns of Gibson further aggravating his plantar fasciitis issues from last season during Sundays team practice in Los Angeles.

After the Bulls win Wednesday, Gibson further clarified the issue.

Its my ankle. I thought it was my foot, but after MRIs, its my ankle. A lot of information, but Im fine, said Gibson, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Tuesdays loss to the Lakers, despite not practicing in the days leading up to the game. It was a little swollen. Im getting ready to play, hopefully getting ready to play Friday for the Bulls game against Denver.

I tried to play against the Suns, but its hard to pressure on it after guarding and playing 40 minutes last night. Its a little tough, just trying to scramble. I didnt want to hurt my team because I knew it would be tough on defense for me to switch lanes because its real painful, said Gibson, who confirmed to CSNChicago.com a Bulls officials text message that he wouldnt play against Phoenix as he was seated on the bench during his teammates pregame warmups. I didnt really panic. I just knew it was a long game. I wanted to get out there and compete, I just didnt want to hurt my team.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau concurred with Gibsons assessment that he could have played, but was sidelined more for precautionary measures and indicated the second-year forward would be a game-time decision for Fridays game against the Nuggets.

He probably could have played. We just want to make sure he gets the rest and hes fine. Another day off (Thursday) and hopefully hes ready to go against Denver, said Thibodeau. Its just like the other day Tuesday in Los Angeles. He comes to practice, he warms up, if it loosens up and it feels good, then he goes. If it doesnt loosen up and he thinks its a problem, then hes not going to go.

Said Gibson: Knowing me, Im going to go out there Friday.

Well see. Ill just listen to coach and listen to the Bulls team trainers, listen to Bulls team doctor Brian Cole he came in today just to see my foot. The positive thing is no tears, no ligament damage. He just said its bruise or something deep in the tissue. I just took a day off. They the Bulls medical staff just told me to relax and get ready for next week, he added. Weve got great trainers. Weve got a great coach; he understands minutes and stuff like that. Getting back to just getting ice and treatment tonight and tomorrow.

Reserve swingman Ronnie Brewer started in Gibsons place Wednesday, with starting small forward Luol Deng shifting over to power forward.

Slow start. In fairness to him, we didnt know Taj wasnt going to play until the last minute, Thibodeau said of Brewer. I dont know if he was ready to start, but hes been playing very well.

Second-year forward James Johnson, out of Thibodeaus regular rotation recently, perhaps gave himself some new life with his solid performance off the bench Wednesday, as well as his power forward build combined with perimeter skills.

Were looking for energy and James has actually been practicing very, very well and his approach has been great. He comes in, hes putting in a lot of extra time, so I have a lot of confidence in him, said Thibodeau. His athleticism really stood out. We were flatI thought he gave us a big lift. Hes a high-energy guy.

When Carlos went out, we were very confident that Taj would step up and hes done thatif Taj is out, the next guy steps up and he gets the job, he continued. We need everybody in that room. Everybodys going to get a chanceTaj was out, so were down a man and the next guy has to be ready to step up.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

It's been a whirlwind of a summer for point guard Tyler Ulis, but he finally feels like he's found a home. Literally.

The 5-foot-9 point guard was cut by the Suns in late June, latched on with a training camp invite by the Warriors and was subsequently waived on Friday. It was then that Ulis, working out in California, received a call from his agent. He had been claimed on waivers by the Chicago Bulls. His hometown Bulls.

"I grew up watching (the Bulls)," he said after his first practice on Tuesday. "Growing up in this city, you always want to be a Bull and you’re always willing and hoping that you’ll be here one day...I'm home now. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it."

Ulis is back in Chicago for the first time since he was breaking records for Marian Catholic High School. Ulis became a five-star recruit for the Spartans and in 2014 signed on as the next point guard in the long line of successful floor generals under John Calipari and Kentucky.

Ulis backed up the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, as a freshman but saw his role increase as a sophomore. He blossomed, earning Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the SEC. Only Anthony Davis had ever earned both honors in a single season.

He declared for the 2016 NBA Draft with hopes of becoming a first-round pick. But unlike the Calipari point guards before him, Ulis slipped all the way down to the second round before the Phoenix Suns scooped him up with the 34th pick.

"Honestly I really did think (the Bulls) were going to draft me," Ulis said on Tuesday when recalling the 2016 NBA Draft. The Bulls took Denzel Valentine with the 14th pick. "But I'm here now so that's all that matters."

In 132 games, Ulis averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 assists in 21.1 minutes. He started 58 of those games, and while his shooting left plenty to be desired he handled the offense well and brought that same pesky defense he showed off at Kentucky. It wasn't enough, even for the guard-deprived Suns. They released Ulis before free agency this summer - which ruffled the feathers of franchise guard Devin Booker - in a rather unexpected move.

"My Mom always taught me (to) never expect anything," Ulis said of his release from the Suns. "When you're on a losing team like that anything can happen. I feel like I showed I could play at this level but they went a different way."

The Suns' loss - they may resort to starting 38-year-old Jamal Crawford at point guard this year - could be the Bulls' gain. Expectations should be harnessed for Ulis, especially with him joining the roster this late in the preseason, but the Bulls, like Phoenix, have question marks at the point.

Kris Dunn is entrenched as the starter, but Cameron Payne struggled mightily in the preseason and Ryan Arcidiacono doesn't project as a contributor. That leaves an opening for Ulis to potentially fill on the second unit, and apparently he's making a statement early in practice.

"Tyler had a real good practice," Fred Hoiberg said. "I think I think he changes the pace when he’s out there on the floor. He picks up full-court, he gets up underneath you. He can make a shot. He’s got good vision and can make a play with the ball in his hand. So I was very impressed with his first workout."

Ulis is working on a 45-day two-way contract, so it's unknown how much he'll contribute. He could be shuttled back and forth between Chicago and the Windy City Bulls, but there's certainly an opportunity for him to stick. He'll be playing catch-up and learning on the go, but doing so in his hometown wth friends and family around him for support will work to his advantage.

"Being a smaller guard growing up in a big man’s sport, you get looked over. So I’m the underdog," he said. "And I feel like this team is an underdog, so we should all be excited to get the season started and prove people wrong."