Although Rip Hamilton wasnt available to talk to the media following Monday mornings Bulls shootaround at the Berto Center, its clear that the 13-year NBA veteran shooting guard is making progress in his recovery from a right-shoulder injury.
Hes getting closer and closer. Hes doing well, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau explained about Hamilton, who has been a full participant in recent team practice and shootaround sessions. Hes been engaged, hes been around. He had misfortune of getting hurt three times. Hopefully hell be healthy for good now.
Chimed in fellow injured backcourt partner Derrick Rose: Hes looking good. Hes moving better than I am right now. Hes in the practice. Im just on the side, just watching. But hes moving good. If anything, I think that hell be able to play any given night.
Hes shooting a lot of shots. You saw him over there, after practice shooting. Hes getting back to his regular self.
Hamiltons been absent so often this season that after a huge buzz when he was acquired following the end of the lockout, hes been almost an afterthought as of late, but the former All-Star has been working diligently to return to the lineup and according to sources familiar with his situation, he could be playing sooner than many expect, as hes now shooting from range again, an important part of his recovery process, since he initially didnt have a full range of motion in his shooting arm. In an ideal world, Thibodeau would want both Rose and Hamilton to take on contact in practice before playing again, but in this stretch run of the condensed schedule, that may not occur.
Right now were not doing a whole lot of contact in practice either. But theyre doing more and more each day, the coach said. Just the fact that theyre doing more and more on the court, Im watching how theyre responding to things. Each day they do more and more, then the next day there havent been any repercussions, so thats good. Step by step, but Im encouraged.
While Rose vowed to return when he feels ready, Thibodeau explained that Hamiltons return will be a decision by committee.
He has to be cleared for contact by the medical people first and of course, he has input in that because he only knows how he actually feels, so itll be Rip, the doctors, the trainers and once they clear him, then hell go, he said.