AUBURN HILLS, MICH.Back in Detroit, where he won a championship and was an All-Star for the Pistons, Bulls starting shooting Rip Hamilton addressed the media for the first time since tearing his left plantar fascia last week. Hamilton, who injured his left foot in the teams home win Saturday over Philadelphiathough he hurt himself in the first half of the contest, he returned in the games waning moments to knock down clutch free throws to help seal the victoryrevealed that he could be out for a month with his ailment, but theres a possibility that he could return to the court sooner.
Its getting a little better every day. Im really working hard on it. Im trying to get flexibility, trying to get the swelling and blood thats in there down, things like that, so every day it gets better. The good thing about it is there hasnt been a setback or anything like that, he said prior to the Bulls morning shootaround Friday at the opulent campus of the Detroit Country Day School, alma mater of retired NBA player Chris Webber and current Miami Heat forward Shane Battier. They the Bulls medical staff said four weeks, but they said that I can probably come back before that. Everybodys bodys different. Its just one of those things where you just want to try to get better every day.
I wasnt surprised. I thought the tape exploded on my foot. Talking to the doctor Brian Cole, the Bulls team physician, he said that it was probably a good thing that it happened, just so the whole plantar fascia, when you have it, it tends to stick with players all year, so when it popped, it was actually a good thing. Once it heals, itll be okay, continued Hamilton, who held his summer basketball camps at the school when he played for the Pistons. Just trying to get the swelling out of it. Typical ice, electronic stimulation, ultrasound. We do some stuff with the ball, try to roll it, massage it. A lot of massaging it, just to try to get the bottom of my foot stronger.
Hamilton noted that while he isnt doing any conditioning during his absence, I dont get out of shape, repeating it for emphasis when pressed for details.
The 34-year-old veteran, who is averaging 13.9 points per game this season, likes how his replacements, Marco Belinelli, who scored a season-high 23 points in the Bulls Tuesday win over Cleveland as a fill-in starter, and second-year swingman Jimmy Butler have been progressing in his absence.
Theyve been great. I thought the first game, they were just kind of feeling it out, the Indiana game. I thought the last game, they came out a lot more aggressive. Marco played great, getting to the basket, getting guys involved, making his shots. Doing what he does, hes a shooter. I tell him, You shoot too well to be pump-faking. I thought he did well, Hamilton said. Jimmys been getting better each and every game all season, so I like the way that hes been playing.
Hamilton is disappointed that hell be sidelined for the Bulls game against his former team Friday nightlast season, in his injury-plagued Bulls debut campaign, he suffered a setback after suiting up against the Pistonswhere he starred alongside the likes of current Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, Knicks reclamation project Rasheed Wallace and Detroits lone holdover from its 2004 title run, small forward Tayshaun Prince, a veteran used to winning upon his arrival in the league, but now demoted to a backup on a struggling, rebuilding team in the midst of a youth movement.
This is the game Ive got on my calendar, if any. This is the one game that I mark before the season even starts and say, All right, I cant wait, and to be injured, its frustrating to me because you want to help your team get a win, he explained. Me and Tay, Chaunce, all of us, were like brothers, so we talk once or twice a week. I talk to Tay all the time. Sometimes just hoping different things, but it is what it is. But its just one of those things hes trying to get through.