WASHINGTON—When it rains, it pours, at least when it comes to the Bulls and their ongoing, season-long injury situation.
Taj Gibson, who only recently returned from a sprained left MCL suffered Feb. 24 in Oklahoma City, may have incurred the same exact injury during the second quarter of Tuesday night’s 90-86 loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center.
“He’s got a sprain of some sort. He’ll have an MRI tomorrow,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Same knee.”
[WATCH: Thibodeau discusses Gibson's injury]
Gibson was more expansive about his status.
“That’s what happens when you rush back,” he said initially. “I just did a basic rotation, tried to slide and it just buckled on me. It was real painful and I tried to just play through it, but I kind of got nicked up the last couple games, kept playing, came on the court and I just told Thibs to take me out, and I went to the back.
“I’ll have an MRI tomorrow, but hopefully it’s not worse than it was before,” the Bulls’ top reserve continued. “It’s similar, but it’s all about how it’s going to feel tomorrow. That’s the only thing. I hope there’s no swelling.
“They [the Bulls’ training staff] didn’t want to make any kind of assumptions. They just really wanted to get back, ice it, wait until tomorrow, get an MRI, see where we’re at right now,” he went on to say. “It’s kind of difficult to put pressure on it, but that’s how it is when you sprain it. I’m just hoping that nothing’s torn, but it just basically feels the same as when I hurt it the first time.”
Gibson’s teammates lamented the power forward’s situation.
“Well, it’s definitely another big blow. I don’t know what else to say, but we’ve got to hang together, find some healthier bodies and the guys that are out there have got to step up even more,” Kirk Hinrich said. “We’ve been short-handed all year and it’s nothing new to us. We were just trying to nurse him back to get him 100 percent. He wasn’t 100 percent to begin with, so we’ve got to find a way.”
Nazr Mohammed chimed in: “We’re definitely banged up. The good part is it’s not like it’s any season-ending injuries, so eventually, we’re going to get our guys back. The bad part is we’re banged up and we’re in a situation where we’re trying to establish some sort of season, trying to get home-court advantage, so that’s tough, but hey, can’t worry about that.
“Of course you want to build that momentum going into the playoffs, but if you don’t have that luxury, you can’t use it as an excuse.”
Jimmy Butler added: It happens. It’s part of the game. We just want everybody to take their time coming back. We don’t want it to get worse and be out even longer. But we’d definitely love to have everybody back. But until then, we have enough to win, like everybody says.
Gibson later elaborated on his comment about “rushing back,” telling CSNChicago.com, “I just felt like the team needs me. We’re playing for something special. If you can go, even 70 [percent], just go out there and try to do what you can do, and I’m the type of player that’s going to go out there and play. If I’m hurt—there’s a difference between being injured and hurt—but if I’m hurt, I’m going to go out there and try to play. But if I’m injured, then I’m sitting down. It’s about pain tolerance and I kind of just pushed the issue, I guess.”