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The Taj Gibson return will likely come with some pain

Updated: April 4, 2013 1:02PM



NEW YORK – When Taj Gibson does return from the setback his sprained left MCL suffered Tuesday in Washington, the Bulls forward is going to have to come back and play hurt. That’s just his reality.

“Yeah, that’s how I had my mindset on when I first came back,’’ Gibson said before the Thursday morning shootaround. “We were sliding down the pole, almost close to that eighth spot the way Boston was playing and stuff like that. I just wanted to come out here and help us get some wins from being in the backseat of the game, the way I’ve been seeing them, so for this to happen to me right now just shows that I came back a little too quick I think. But we’re on the right track and we’re just going to keep moving forward.’’

The MRI he underwent on Wednesday ended up being favorable, but that doesn’t mean that Gibson will be playing anytime soon.

“There was only a little swelling, but it was mostly scar tissue,’’ Gibson said. “The only thing about it was it was just painful. It showed that I’ve still got a long way to go as far as my rehabilitation. Just getting the leg strong, because the way it buckled on me, I was just doing a lateral slide, and it just buckled on me. It was real painful, so we just have to see how it’s going to go, keep pushing.’’

What that means for the Bulls tonight against the Brooklyn Nets is they will be without Gibson, Derrick Rose (left knee), Richard Hamilton (back), and likely Marco Belinelli (strained abdomen) and Joakim Noah (right foot plantar fasciitis).

Noah and Belinelli were going to go through the shootaround, get treatment afterwards and then see how they felt, but coach Tom Thibodeau labeled them as “outside’’ chances to play against the Nets.

With just nine regular-season games left, the idea that the Bulls will be walking into the postseason with any type of rhythm is basically a pipedream. But at least in Gibson’s case, he would like to get a few games under his belt by next week.

“I just want to get my leg stronger,’’ Gibson said. “That’s the main thing, get my leg back stronger, because I feel like the way things happened in that Washington game, I still have a long ways to go. I have to put more effort to help my team because I can’t be missing games, especially late in a push like this.’’

Gibson said the key factor in returning from injury is listening to his own body, basically following the same path Rose has been following.

“He’s handled it the right way from Day 1,’’ Gibson said of Rose. “He listened to himself. That’s the same thing that I did. I listened to myself. I listen to how I know I would react. But I knew when the training staff told me what I could do and how it feels, it’s your opinion. You’re in charge of your [bleep], so when I went out there, I felt like I was good, but anything could happen.’’



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