By Philip Rossman-Reich
Contributor to CSNChicago.com
Taj Gibson will miss Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic with an injury to his right hamstring, coach Fred Hoiberg said. Team doctors will evaluate Wednesday night and then further evaluate the injury when the team returns to Chicago.
Gibson scored 13 points in 23 minutes before leaving Tuesday’s game before leaving after experiencing tightness in his hamstring. Cameron Bairstow will start in his place against the Magic.
There is no timetable for his return and it is unclear how severe the injury is as the Bulls’ injured list seems to be ballooning.
While Gibson’s injury was unwelcome news to the Bulls to snap a four-game losing streak and get the defense back on track, there is some confidence in Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic’s progress in dealing with their own injuries.
“Once we get everybody back, hopefully we go out there and do the little things,” Hoiberg said. “It’s such a fine line. You might have four guys in position and you have that one guy out of position, and you are going to get exposed on it. That’s where it starts – the little things. Hopefully we will take care of that and getting a full, healthy roster will help.”
[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
Hoiberg said he spoke to Butler after Butler worked out at the Bulls’ practice facility Wednesday. Barring any additional setbacks during his scheduled workout Thursday, Butler could be ready to return to practice in full Friday with an eye on perhaps making a return to the lineup Saturday against the Houston Rockets.
It is still too early to tell whether Butler will be ready to play by that game, but Butler seems to be taking steps forward to make his return to the court.
Mirotic too is making progress, Hoiberg said.
The plan, he said, was for him to do some on-court work during practice Friday. He is still a week or two away from a return to the court, but he seems ready to begin ramping up his work on the court. He still has to gain strength and confidence and build his weight back up after his appendectomy.
The Bulls have struggled to withstand these injuries, now sitting on the outside of the Playoff picture, at least for the moment, it is a turning point for their season. Getting players back could help, in a sense, wake the team up.
“To see yourself on the outside looking in, you have to be mentally tough,” Hoiberg said. “You have to fight through these times. You can’t put your head down and feel sorry for yourself. You have to come out with great urgency. That’s got to be the constant.”