Chicago Bears

Deja vu: Hamilton injured vs. 76ers, but returns to the game

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Deja vu: Hamilton injured vs. 76ers, but returns to the game

With 3:15 left in the third quarter of Saturday nights Bulls win over Philadelphia, there was suddenly a flashback to last season. Rip Hamilton, in the midst of a strong individual period and raining down mid-range jumpers, leaped in the air to make a pass and when he landed, immediately began limping.
For the injury to occur against the 76ers, the team that ousted the Bulls from the playoffsand against whom Derrick Roses season ended in Game 1 of the first-round series at the United Centerwas eerie enough, but considering Hamiltons injury-plagued debut season in Chicago made it downright terrifying for both the team and its fans.
Hamilton couldnt put pressure on his left foot and was helped off the court by teammates Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, then headed to the locker room, after which the organization informed the media that he suffered a sprained left foot.
In a twist, however, Hamilton not only returned to the bench, but was reinserted into the contestshades of Joakim Noah, who severely sprained his ankle in Philadelphia during the aforementioned series, then briefly returned to play in the same game, though he was out for the remainder of the series afterwardsby Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau as a designated free-throw shooter. Hamilton knocked down three of his four attempts at the charity stripe to close out the Bulls win.
It was a lot scarier than I thought, but well see. Tomorrow Im supposed to get an MRI on it. But the good thing about it, I was able to put a little bit of weight on it and I was able to go back into the game, the veteran recounted afterwards. I didnt get an x-ray. It was just one of those things, its all feeling and there was a lot of adrenaline still in the game. I felt as though I could still move. I know I wasnt 100 percent or anything like that, but I felt as though I could still get out there and help the team.
Hamilton injured himself when I jumped up. As soon as I came up off my feet, thats when I really felt something on the bottom of my foot. I felt something pop.There wasnt anybody around. They always say the worst injuries are when nobodys around and you didnt fall on anybodys foot or anything like that, so it was just one of those things that when it happened, it just scared me and when I felt it, I didnt want to put any pressure on it, but there wasnt a whole lot of pain. So, thats why it was so freaky to me, continued the Pennsylvania nativehe grew up less than an hour from Philadelphiawho admitted his foot was sore afterwards. I would have tried to play even earlier, if asked. Thats why I came back on the bench. They kept asking me, Can you play? and I was like, Man, I wont know until Im actually out there defending somebody live or running down the court, so it was one of those things that if I got there, I was going to see how it was going to feel.
Thibodeau asked me and I told him, Yeah, put me back in the game. He didnt want to put me back in at first and I was like, Im good. As long as my right shooting arm is good, Im good, the shooting guard went on to say. I just told myself, Just figure it out. Whoever Im guarding, just try to run near them and hope they dont get the ball.
I wanted to be back out there. Coach took a chance on me and put me back out there.
Thibodeau, perhaps sensitive to the criticism he received for putting Noah back into the May playoff game, explained that he didnt have an official diagnosisas did Hamilton, who stated, I dont know what it is. We dont know what it is until I get an MRIfor the injury and was simply relying on advice from the Bulls medical staff. Although Hamilton walked with a noticeable limp, he was functional on the floor.
When he came back to the bench, Fred Tedeschi, the teams head trainer told me that we could use him if we needed him, so I thought we needed him, the coach said. Well, Im not a doctor. I just ask the trainer, Can he go? We do have a medical staff here. I know you guys the media are trained that way also, but they have to be cleared by the doctor and the trainer before I get to them. If Fred tells me that he cant go, then hes not going to go. Hes been evaluated so, I trust our medical staff.
The silver lining to the injury is that if Hamilton has to miss any significant amount of time, the Bulls now have the cap space to sign a 14th playera minimum-salary veteranto the roster, something that wasnt imminent as of last week, when it became possible, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. But the organizations front office and player-personnel staff have been keeping a close eye on available veterans if the need arose, which likely wont be known until Monday, as the team is off Sunday.

Why the Bears are feeling optimistic about their 2017 defense

Why the Bears are feeling optimistic about their 2017 defense

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The general vibe given off by defensive end Akiem Hicks and linebacker Jerrell Freeman -- the two Bears defenders made available to the media on Wednesday -- was of low-key optimism. 

A Bears defense beset by injuries last year ranked 24th in points allowed and only managed 11 turnovers in 2016. But Hicks and Freeman both see bigger things for this defense after general manager Ryan Pace retooled it with a number of veteran free agent signings. 

Specifically, Hicks believes the Bears' defense has enough been-there, done-that players to be the catalyst for victories. 

“Sometimes, it’s like a second nature, something that you have inside you,” Hicks said. “You just want to be in that situation. But it’s also something you can develop through a lot of reps. You know what I mean? A guy who comes in and has 5,000 reps over his career, he’s going to be able to get in that situation and play it with just a little bit more confidence than a guy in his first, second or even third year. 

“Because once you’ve gotten to a point where you’ve gotten enough snaps, you’ve seen everything. You felt disappointment, you’ve felt that feeling of victory at the end of the game when you’re walking off. I think that’s what bringing veteran guys to a team does. They’ve seen it all already.”

The Bears added four possible-to-likely starters to their defense in free agency: defensive end Jaye Howard, safety Quintin Demps and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper. Those four players have a combined 24 years of NFL experience, and the Bears only have one rookie (safety Eddie Jackson) competing for a starting role. 

Couple the expected Year 1 to Year 2 growth of Leonard Floyd and the potential for a healthy Eddie Goldman with those veterans, and the Bears see enough players with the right mindset to build a sturdy defense. 

“I hope everyone on my defense wants to be the best player at their position,” Freeman said. “That’s the mentality I would want, and that’s the mentality I would want the rest of my defense to have. Getting better, lead a defense to one of the top defenses, just help my team in any kind of way to get some wins.”

Hawk Harrelson believes John Lackey is 'full of shit'

Hawk Harrelson believes John Lackey is 'full of shit'

Hawk Harrelson isn't buying John Lackey's explanation of innocence.

The Cubs right-hander plunked four White Sox batters in Tuesday's Crosstown throwdown at Wrigley Field, earning the on-air ire of the White Sox longtime broadcaster. Lackey said after the game that he did it on accident but understood the White Sox later retaliation.

Wednesday, a day after all those HBPs, Harrelson stuck to his guns, not believing the veteran pitcher for a second.

"He's full of shit, and you can print that," Harrerlson told the Tribune's Colleen Kane. "He's full of it. He always has been."

OK then.

"I was hoping that they would drill his ass big time because he's an idiot," Harrelson told Kane. "At that point, the game was not the issue. It was Lackey. He's in the pennant race. This is a big-boy game. There's no bullshit here. He's putting (Kris) Bryant and (Anthony) Rizzo in jeopardy."

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Harrelson, of course, is known for getting heated in the booth and historically has had little issue with expressing his anger on air. You'll remember past rants directed at umpires Mark Wegner and Joe West.

Lackey stirred up plenty of controversy with his four hit batsmen in Tuesday's White Sox loss, plunking Jose Abreu twice as well as Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada. Harrelson made his displeasure known during the broadcast and implied there would be retaliation. Chris Beck hit Ian Happ with a pitch after Lackey pegged three White Sox in the fifth inning.

Lackey's an old-school type himself, much like Harrelson, so it makes sense the two would be right in the middle of such a situation involving baseball's unwritten rules.