Hamilton may return earlier than expected from foot injury

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Hamilton may return earlier than expected from foot injury

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.Back in Detroit, where he won a championship and was an All-Star for the Pistons, Bulls starting shooting Rip Hamilton addressed the media for the first time since tearing his left plantar fascia last week. Hamilton, who injured his left foot in the teams home win Saturday over Philadelphiathough he hurt himself in the first half of the contest, he returned in the games waning moments to knock down clutch free throws to help seal the victoryrevealed that he could be out for a month with his ailment, but theres a possibility that he could return to the court sooner.

Its getting a little better every day. Im really working hard on it. Im trying to get flexibility, trying to get the swelling and blood thats in there down, things like that, so every day it gets better. The good thing about it is there hasnt been a setback or anything like that, he said prior to the Bulls morning shootaround Friday at the opulent campus of the Detroit Country Day School, alma mater of retired NBA player Chris Webber and current Miami Heat forward Shane Battier. They the Bulls medical staff said four weeks, but they said that I can probably come back before that. Everybodys bodys different. Its just one of those things where you just want to try to get better every day.

I wasnt surprised. I thought the tape exploded on my foot. Talking to the doctor Brian Cole, the Bulls team physician, he said that it was probably a good thing that it happened, just so the whole plantar fascia, when you have it, it tends to stick with players all year, so when it popped, it was actually a good thing. Once it heals, itll be okay, continued Hamilton, who held his summer basketball camps at the school when he played for the Pistons. Just trying to get the swelling out of it. Typical ice, electronic stimulation, ultrasound. We do some stuff with the ball, try to roll it, massage it. A lot of massaging it, just to try to get the bottom of my foot stronger.

Hamilton noted that while he isnt doing any conditioning during his absence, I dont get out of shape, repeating it for emphasis when pressed for details.

The 34-year-old veteran, who is averaging 13.9 points per game this season, likes how his replacements, Marco Belinelli, who scored a season-high 23 points in the Bulls Tuesday win over Cleveland as a fill-in starter, and second-year swingman Jimmy Butler have been progressing in his absence.

Theyve been great. I thought the first game, they were just kind of feeling it out, the Indiana game. I thought the last game, they came out a lot more aggressive. Marco played great, getting to the basket, getting guys involved, making his shots. Doing what he does, hes a shooter. I tell him, You shoot too well to be pump-faking. I thought he did well, Hamilton said. Jimmys been getting better each and every game all season, so I like the way that hes been playing.

Hamilton is disappointed that hell be sidelined for the Bulls game against his former team Friday nightlast season, in his injury-plagued Bulls debut campaign, he suffered a setback after suiting up against the Pistonswhere he starred alongside the likes of current Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, Knicks reclamation project Rasheed Wallace and Detroits lone holdover from its 2004 title run, small forward Tayshaun Prince, a veteran used to winning upon his arrival in the league, but now demoted to a backup on a struggling, rebuilding team in the midst of a youth movement.

This is the game Ive got on my calendar, if any. This is the one game that I mark before the season even starts and say, All right, I cant wait, and to be injured, its frustrating to me because you want to help your team get a win, he explained. Me and Tay, Chaunce, all of us, were like brothers, so we talk once or twice a week. I talk to Tay all the time. Sometimes just hoping different things, but it is what it is. But its just one of those things hes trying to get through.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

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While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.