The Chicago Bulls have been devastated by injuries all season long, even outside of their superstar point guard, Derrick Rose. For the past several weeks they have been without their valuable power forward, Taj Gibson, and interim starting point guard Kirk Hinrich. Both could return Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings, as they are game time decisions.
Gibson has been out a couple of weeks with a sprained MCL, and the Bulls have definitely missed him. His absence has forced an amount of playing time on backup center Nazr Mohammed that Bulls fans aren’t too fond of. While Mohammed has had his moments of contribution, he is nowhere close to the type of player Gibson is. The Bulls have lacked Gibson’s energy off the bench dearly, as they’ve lost more games than they’ve won in the past few weeks.
There are few players in this league that have the type of effect on a team’s energy level like Gibson does on the Bulls. I know all of you remember what he has done to the Miami Heat in the playoffs, seeming to make it a goal to dunk on just about every member of their squad. Gibson’s defense and rebounding are what the Bulls need desperately at a time like this. He is also an underrated shooter, having the ability to knock down mid range jumpers from time to time.
Hinrich, on the other hand, has had his share of injuries this season. The Bulls have been very successful when he is in the starting lineup, but that hasn’t happened in the majority of games in recent memory. According to sources close to the team, this is Hinrich’s seventh documented injury of the year. The Bulls would like to think they didn’t sign up for that, but indeed it is reality.
Chicago would love to get Hinrich back sooner rather than later, especially because of their lack of depth at the position. Nate Robinson has been a decent fill-in as a starter. In fact, in many games the Bulls would not have had an offense whatsoever without him. If you’re a Bulls fan, you cringe after reading that. Robinson has appeared to give head coach Tom Thibodeau more gray hairs this season than any player has given him in past years coaching.
Their second option at the moment is the rookie Marquis Teague, who is still a very raw talent and hasn’t had enough time yet to get accustomed to the pace and higher level of play in the NBA. This being said, Hinrich will definitely improve this squad when healthy again.
As the Bulls take on the Kings Wednesday night, I don’t anticipate it being a dire situation for them to have both of them back, but it would sure help. Joakim Noah and Luol Deng have played an ample amount of minutes in the frontcourt as of late and I am sure Thibodeau would like to clock those back a little bit before heading into the playoffs.
As the season rolls on, so do these banged up Bulls. It hasn’t been a pretty year, but you cannot complain about being a fifth seed at the moment with so many injuries stacking up over time if you’re a Chicago fan. It will be interesting to see what the Bulls can do in the playoffs when healthy, even if Rose does not return this season. Let’s hope, for the sake of the Bulls fans everywhere, that they can make it interesting for the East’s elite.