Noah, Belinelli out vs. Heat; Hamilton gradually recovering

Noah, Belinelli out vs. Heat; Hamilton gradually recovering
March 27, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau announced before Wednesday’s game that starters Marco Belinelli and Joakim Noah would be out with an abdominal strain and plantar fasciitis, respectively, though the coach was hopeful that they could return to the lineup in time for Saturday afternoon's game at Dallas.

Additionally, Derrick Rose won’t play in the contest either, as the former league MVP spoke to the media at the team’s morning shootaround at the Berto Center.

But news has been scarce about the team’s other injured player, Rip Hamilton.

The veteran shooting guard hasn’t suited up since a Feb. 26 home game against Cleveland due what was initially called lower back spasms.

Before Wednesday night’s game, Hamilton, who hasn’t been available to the media, elaborated about his condition to

“Feeling better, man. Every day I’m getting a little better. The recovery has been faster than what they thought, so it’s a good thing,” he said. “I’m taking it a day at a time. The sooner I get better, the faster I can get out on the floor.”

Hamilton also detailed how the injury—a source said it was diagnosed as a bulging L-4 disk—occurred.

“Just doing some exercises in the weight room before the game, just doing my typical warm-ups. It wasn’t anything crazy. It was just a freak thing,” he explained. “It wasn’t something that I was trying to do—a certain move or lifting a certain weight—it was the typical, same thing I do two-and-a-half hours before the game. Everybody thought I was joking at first, but it happened.”

Hamilton believes he can return to the court this season and a person with knowledge of the situation said he has progressed to the point where he’s running again, as well as shooting, something the media witnessed after a recent practice at the Berto Center.

However, with the end of the regular season approaching, it will be a challenge to reintegrate him into the rotation, first on a limited-minutes basis—Hamilton’s perpetual-motion game on the offensive end isn’t exactly the best remedy for someone with a back injury—before the postseason, though his playoff experience and ability to score from the perimeter would potentially give them a lift.