The Bulls entered the 2015-16 season with arguably the NBA's deepest frontcourt.
They'll head into the All-Star break with three of their top four on the depth chart sidelined.
Already playing without Joakim Noah, likely out for the year after separating his shoulder, and Nikola Mirotic, recovering from an appendectomy, Taj Gibson became the latest of the Bulls forwards to bow out with injury.
Gibson suffered a left foot strain in the third quarter of the Bulls' 113-90 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Fred Hoiberg said after the game he did not have a diagnosis on how severe the injury might be, but Gibson did not appear worried about the soreness. He told reporters the soreness is a byproduct of the left ankle surgery he had during the offseason. Gibson had been playing through the injury during the Bulls' recent seven-game road trip but couldn't get past the pain on the team's final game before the All-Star break.
"(The doctors) said I've got to stay on top of it, but it’s going to be hard with the amount of minutes and how hard I play, just trying to do whatever it takes, diving, just doing a lot of different things," Gibson said after the game. "The wear and tear, just trying to stay healthy and play through things. But it’s frustrating."
[SHOP BULLS: Get your Bulls gear right here]
Gibson did not have his foot wrapped up but had a noticeable limp as he walked through the locker room. He finished with four points and three rebounds in 22 minutes.
"It’s just real sore. Hard to put pressure on it right now, but it’s lucky we’re getting the break right now," he added. "I can get my mind back right and get my legs back right, but it’s sore right now."
The Bulls have asked Gibson to take on an expanded role since the injuries to Noah and Mirotic. Gibson averaged 21.2 minutes in October and November combined. Since then, he's seen his minutes per game increase to 27.2 minutes in December, 28.7 minutes in January and now 33.8 per game in February before Wednesday's injury.
But even with the sore foot and the ankle injuries that limited him to 62 games last season, don't expect Gibson to perform any differently as he tries to help shake the Bulls out of their losing funk.
"(We've) got a lot of injuries. Just fatigue of (my) ankle, and when I’m sore the foot kind of gets into it. It’s built for games," Gibson said. "Just playing my heart out, doing whatever I can to help my team. Just trying to play the right way, playing my heart out."