NEW YORK Taj Gibson was limited to three minutes and 38 seconds of action in his hometown Friday night, due to still recovering from a right-ankle injury suffered in the Bulls home win Tuesday over the Celtics.
With a day off following the victory over Boston and Gibson not practicing Thursday, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was cautious with the reserve big man, even though he participated in Friday mornings shootaround.
He hasnt practiced. I thought he was moving a lot better today, but I didnt get him a lot of minutes early, Thibodeau explained after the Bulls wild win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. He was sitting there an awfully long time, so when I put him back, I didnt think he had enough time to get loose. So, we got a look at a few different guys. We were searching at that point and I knew they would be gambling. I thought the free-throw shooting and another ballhandler would be good with Nate, so thats when we went ultra-small.
Gibson, who grew up in Brooklyn, added: I just tried to play through the pain. I just wanted to contribute. It was one of those things where your bodys telling you something, but your minds telling you that you can do it. I tried just to do something for the little bit of minutes. I was happy I was able to score, but I was a little pissed off I wasnt able to guard the way I normally would be able to.
With Joakim Noah getting ejected and Carlos Boozer not necessarily being a good defensive matchup for the small-ball lineup the Knicks employed, Gibson's versatility would have been valuable, but the Bulls managed without him.