Ankle injury makes Gibson's status uncertain

Ankle injury makes Gibson's status uncertain

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010
Updated 4:31 AM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

PHOENIX Just prior to Wednesdays tip-off, Bulls starting power forward Taj Gibson was ruled out for the teams thrilling double-overtime win over the Suns. Gibson suffered a right ankle injury previously misidentified as a foot injury, prompting initial concerns of Gibson further aggravating his plantar fasciitis issues from last season during Sundays team practice in Los Angeles.

After the Bulls win Wednesday, Gibson further clarified the issue.

Its my ankle. I thought it was my foot, but after MRIs, its my ankle. A lot of information, but Im fine, said Gibson, who scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Tuesdays loss to the Lakers, despite not practicing in the days leading up to the game. It was a little swollen. Im getting ready to play, hopefully getting ready to play Friday for the Bulls game against Denver.

I tried to play against the Suns, but its hard to pressure on it after guarding and playing 40 minutes last night. Its a little tough, just trying to scramble. I didnt want to hurt my team because I knew it would be tough on defense for me to switch lanes because its real painful, said Gibson, who confirmed to CSNChicago.com a Bulls officials text message that he wouldnt play against Phoenix as he was seated on the bench during his teammates pregame warmups. I didnt really panic. I just knew it was a long game. I wanted to get out there and compete, I just didnt want to hurt my team.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau concurred with Gibsons assessment that he could have played, but was sidelined more for precautionary measures and indicated the second-year forward would be a game-time decision for Fridays game against the Nuggets.

He probably could have played. We just want to make sure he gets the rest and hes fine. Another day off (Thursday) and hopefully hes ready to go against Denver, said Thibodeau. Its just like the other day Tuesday in Los Angeles. He comes to practice, he warms up, if it loosens up and it feels good, then he goes. If it doesnt loosen up and he thinks its a problem, then hes not going to go.

Said Gibson: Knowing me, Im going to go out there Friday.

Well see. Ill just listen to coach and listen to the Bulls team trainers, listen to Bulls team doctor Brian Cole he came in today just to see my foot. The positive thing is no tears, no ligament damage. He just said its bruise or something deep in the tissue. I just took a day off. They the Bulls medical staff just told me to relax and get ready for next week, he added. Weve got great trainers. Weve got a great coach; he understands minutes and stuff like that. Getting back to just getting ice and treatment tonight and tomorrow.

Reserve swingman Ronnie Brewer started in Gibsons place Wednesday, with starting small forward Luol Deng shifting over to power forward.

Slow start. In fairness to him, we didnt know Taj wasnt going to play until the last minute, Thibodeau said of Brewer. I dont know if he was ready to start, but hes been playing very well.

Second-year forward James Johnson, out of Thibodeaus regular rotation recently, perhaps gave himself some new life with his solid performance off the bench Wednesday, as well as his power forward build combined with perimeter skills.

Were looking for energy and James has actually been practicing very, very well and his approach has been great. He comes in, hes putting in a lot of extra time, so I have a lot of confidence in him, said Thibodeau. His athleticism really stood out. We were flatI thought he gave us a big lift. Hes a high-energy guy.

When Carlos went out, we were very confident that Taj would step up and hes done thatif Taj is out, the next guy steps up and he gets the job, he continued. We need everybody in that room. Everybodys going to get a chanceTaj was out, so were down a man and the next guy has to be ready to step up.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

In a season where the triple-double has become commonplace to the point of stat chasing in the effort to chase history, Dwyane Wade didn't mind snatching his own piece of turf.

In a game where teammate Jimmy Butler reached the feat for the first time this season, it would've been doubly satisfactory for Wade to achieve the fifth triple-double of his career.

One rebound away in the final seconds of the Bulls' 117-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the memo didn't reach Cristiano Felicio, who reached over Wade to grab a rebound, causing it to harmlessly fall out of bounds and ending Wade's chance at history.

After Wade finished with 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 34 minutes, he was asked if he "hated" Felicio for interrupting his moment.

"No hate. Just a strong dislike, though," said Wade with a wry smile. "You know how long it's been since I had a triple double? It's been a long time."

It's been six years, as his last triple-double came in the 2010-11 season with the Miami Heat, achieving the feat with a 22-point, 12-rebound and 10-assist performance against the then-Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 4, 2011.

Even more than the statistical feat was Wade's variety, as he grabbed seven rebounds in the decisive third-quarter run that broke the game open, hitting Butler and Bobby Portis for long touchdown passes that would've had Jay Cutler or whichever quarterback the Cleveland Browns are banking on next fall, blushing.

Perhaps even more impressive was the fact it was on the second night of a back-to-back with the Bulls winning in overtime against the Phoenix Suns—a game where Wade turned it up late then threw it down over Alex Len in overtime.

"I think we just found our groove," Wade said. "We've had some injuries that have gone on but we're playing good basketball."

More pointedly, so is Wade, aided by him often finding Felicio for easy dunks on the pick and roll as they play second and fourth quarters together. 

Felicio was clearly bothered by his gaffe, which was made worse by the take-no-prisoners approach from Wade and Butler. When a member of foreign media approached him about an interview, Felicio said "you're not asking me about that last rebound, are you?"

Later in the evening, Felicio went to Twitter, posting "I did not know!!" in reference to Wade's night.

"I told him I didn't not even gonna act like I ain't mad at him. I'm very mad at him," said Wade with a laugh. "But he's all good. He said he didn't see me down there. So he took a shot at my height. It's cool. Jimmy had one. It would've been nice to have two triple doubles."

"I'm sure a stat would've came out that would've said, ‘Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler are the first duo to get a triple-double on a back-to-back since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen', since they got every record around here."

He was close, although Jordan and Pippen didn't achieve their feat on a back-to-back but a random night in the 1988-89 season. Jordan scored 41 with 11 assists and 10 rebounds and Pippen had 15 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 126-121 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We laugh about that often, but it's all good," Wade said. "I gotta work harder till I get another one one day."

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