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Hamilton returns to action for the Bulls
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Apr 9
It’s been awhile since the Bulls have received any good news on the injury front. But that’s exactly what presented itself on Tuesday evening when coach Tom Thibodeau announced that shooting guard Richard Hamilton would return to action against the Toronto Raptors.
“We’re going to play him tonight,” Thibodeau declared of Hamilton, who came off the bench. “He’s going to have a chance to play some minutes, not a lot. He’s come along and he’s feeling better. We’ll see where he is. It’s one thing to be able to do it in practice; it’s another to be able to do it in a game. Of course we’ll have to see how he responds tomorrow after the game. We’re glad that he’s back.”
Hamilton has not played since Chicago’s 101-98 loss to Cleveland at the United Center on Feb. 26, missing 19 games due to a sore lower back.
“He’s been down for awhile,” acknowledged Thibodeau. “We needed his back to calm down. He’d been running for awhile, he’s been shooting for awhile, and now he’s doing everything in practice. So the next step is to play.
“He’s been out a long time, so there’s going to be some rust,” Thibodeau added.
In 45 games this season, Hamilton has averaged 10.2 points, 2.4 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 22.4 minutes per game.
Meanwhile, sidelined for the Bulls will again be Derrick Rose (left knee), Luol Deng (right hip), Taj Gibson (left knee) and Joakim Noah (right foot). But as he has all season, Thibodeau remained confident in his team’s ability to get the job done.
“We want to have a team of leaders,” Thibodeau said when asked about making up for Deng’s absence. “When he’s out, someone else will step up and do his part. We’ve got guys that are capable.”