NEW YORKIf you ask Taj Gibson, he wont miss Friday nights showdown against the Knicks in his hometown of New York, due to a right-ankle injury suffered in Tuesday nights home win over the Celtics.
However, according to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, while the reserve big man is getting better, hes a game-time decision.
Gibson didnt participate in Thursdays practice at the Berto Center, but believes hell be able to suit up at Madison Square Garden, which doubles as Thibodeaus old stomping grounds from his days as an assistant coach in New York.
Im going to play. Ill be fine. Just been getting treatment twice a day. Just trying to stay ready and be ready for tonight, Gibson said before the Bulls morning shootaround on the arena floor. Ive been through this already, especially last year in the playoffs. I dealt with it and Thibs, and the training staff know the way I am. If I can go at least at 70 percent or whatever, Im still going to play. Its all about if you play through the pain. If Im injured, Im not going to play, but I feel Ill be okay.
Gibson injured the same ankle in the teams first-round playoff series loss to the 76ers in May and claimed that he re-aggravated the injury Tuesday.
Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue break down the Bulls' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.
TNT Bulls are back this week as the team heads into a crucial stretch.
Currently, the Bulls sit half a game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with just eight games remaining on the schedule, each contest is essentially a must-win.
So, yes, Thursday would be a great time for Jimmy Butler and company to summon their TNT alter ego. The Bulls have sealed 18 straight victories when playing on TNT Thursday, an improbable feat considering those games are usually reserved for two of the NBA's best.
To continue that run, they'll have to down Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also fighting for playoff positioning -- albeit at the top of the conference. Good thing the Bulls have a tendency to get up for big games.
"The Bulls play up and down to their competition," Bulls Pregame and Postgame analyst Kendall Gill said. "They've been doing that the whole season."
After Cleveland, the Bulls get set to battle another playoff squad, the Atlanta Hawks.
Watch the video above to see Schanowski, Gill and Perdue break down the matchups.