Bulls without Hinrich, Boozer and Noah


Feb 1

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The Bulls may be taking this first trip ever to play an NBA game in Brooklyn, which rests in the shadow on Manhattan and the Knicks, a bit too seriously.

They’re fielding their second team, though it’s difficult to tell at times as the Bulls for three seasons now have had remarkable success with reserves moving into the starting lineup.

Derrick Rose is out still, of course, though with the team. Kirk Hinrich is not with the team, having left Thursday night to return to Chicago to have his elbow examined. It appears he has a recurrence of an infection from earlier this season and could be out a week, though there is no timetable.

Joakim Noah had a recurrence of a foot injury that has been bothering him some and is not playing. He didn’t work out before the game and was limping coming into the arena. It could be a plantar fasciitis flareup, though that was unclear. Carlos Boozer did shoot before the game, but decided to be cautious with his hamstring problem. All three could also be out Saturday in Atlanta.

The Bulls are starting Nate Robinson and Richard Hamilton in the backcourt, which should give Deron Williams plenty of post up practice, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson at forward and Nazr Mohammed. Mohammed’s last start was Feb. 17, 2012.

“Next man up,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who Friday was named Eastern Conference coach of the month for January. “We’ve been down this road before. He’s (Hinrich) out, Nate’s in, Marco, whoever. Be ready. Next guy in Taj, Nazr, whoever. Just be ready.”

Yes, it was quite the pregame session with reporters as Thibodeau threw names around about who might play. Knowing Thibodeau, of course, this has all been well plotted out. But it’s a blow at a time with the Bulls going so well at 28-17. That’s because the Bulls go into one of the tougher stretches of the season with games on the road in Atlanta Saturday, then the snow makeup in Indiana Tuesday and in Denver and Utah next week, the Spurs at home Feb 11 and then in Boston before the All-Star break, a run against mostly high level, winning teams. It’s also possible given caution with uncertain injuries that at least two of the players, perhaps Hinrich and Noah, might sit awhile and Boozer, after all, is nursing a hamstring problem, which tends to be sensitive.

Thibodeau didn’t indicate the Bulls would look to add a player. But he said, “If we were where we feel we have multiple players out we’ll take a look at that. we have more than enough. I like the guys we have on our team. They all can play.

“This hasn’t been anything new,” said Thibodeau. “It happened here three years ago, last year, this year. Obviously, with Derrick it’s different. We had the summer to prepare. Injuries are a part of it. Everyone deals with it. That’s why we’re carrying 14 guys. If you’re on an NBA roster, you can play.”

Meanwhile, Taj Gibson, a native of Brooklyn, gets his third start, second straight and was enjoying his return to play a game in his hometown. He said it’s a great atmosphere and arena, “one up on the Garden right now.” Gibson lived in a crime ridden projects near the arena in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge. He said he was proud to see the development.

I’m also from Brooklyn, though I wasn’t as thrilled with his view.

“My grand parents used to talk about the Dodgers and how they left,” said Gibson. “They didn’t like that.”

Hey, I watched Jackie Robinson play here at Ebbets Field.

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