An MRI on Monday confirmed a sprained MCL in Taj Gibson’s left knee.
The versatile forward suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder when he went up to challenge a shot and came down on point guard Reggie Jackson’s foot.
“The first thing I did was grab my knee,” said Gibson, sporting a protective brace on the injured knee before the Bulls tipped off against Cleveland. “I went up for a regular shot-block and I came down so easily and it just gave way. I felt it right away. Right after the play, Thibs called timeout and he told me to go to the back.”
Gibson referred to the injury as a minor setback and given the early estimate of two weeks, he said he plans on pushing himself to return earlier, but also reminded himself that he has to follow doctor’s orders.
He was scheduled to undergo further observation to assure that there are no small tears in the ligament.
Although not as serious as Derrick Rose’s injury, Gibson has a new appreciation for what his teammate has gone through in suffering the injury and pushing through to return to the court.
“I really feel what Derrick goes through and I have nowhere near [that injury],” Gibson said. “The pain I felt after that little encounter, I know how he feels. Seeing what he goes through every day and how he pushes through it. It’s not easy. When I was looking at everything that goes around the knee and I saw the kind of things that he hurt. I was just like, he’s a soldier. The things he’s doing right now, coming back from that, it’s hard.”
With Gibson out, coach Tom Thibodeau may lean on more on Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler to fill in at power forward.
“We’ll see how the game is unfolding,” Thibodeau said. “We feel like we have a lot of versatility to our lineup.”