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Initial diagnosis indicates Bulls’ Taj Gibson has sprained left knee

Bulls guard Marco Belinelli passes for an assist after securing loose ball front Clevelforward Marreese Speights second quarter Chicago Bulls

Bulls guard Marco Belinelli passes for an assist after securing a loose ball in front of Cleveland forward Marreese Speights in the second quarter of the Chicago Bulls vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA gameTuesday February 26, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Taj Gibson would like to say his time in street clothes will be about two weeks, but the Bulls forward/center admitted Tuesday there is still some uncertainty about the extent of the damage to his left knee.

It’s being called a strained medial collateral ligament for now, but he will undergo further testing to see if there are any small tears the original MRI exam didn’t catch.

“We don’t know yet,’’ Gibson said. “Just making sure there are no tears or something like that, but we still don’t even know yet.’’

He suffered the injury Sunday, when he went up to block a shot and came down on the foot of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson.

“First thing I did was grab my knee,’’ Gibson recalled. “I went up for a shot block, something so easy, and it just gave way. You never know. I’m really on top of my body, work out four times a week, just on top of swimming, jogging, and you never know when anything can happen.’’

When Gibson went back into the locker room to be examined, Derrick Rose was there to offer advice and support.

“He was just like, ‘What you’re going through, imagine 100 times worse,’ ’’ Gibson said. “When we were going over all the things that go wrong in the knee — the ACL, the MCL — and I saw the things he hurt, I was just like, ‘He’s a soldier.’ The things he’s doing right now, coming back from that, it’s hard.’’

If it is determined to only be a sprain, the doctors have told Gibson (7.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game) that it will likely be a two-week recovery. Gibson has other plans.

“Knowing me, I’m going to try and push it, but I just have to follow the doctors, follow my body because I never felt any pain like that before,’’ Gibson said.

Next man up

As far as filling in for Gibson, when the Bulls want to go big, they will lean on Nazr Mohammed. If they want to go small, it’s Jimmy Butler. And if they want to get really creative and go with a stretch four shooter who can be a threat from the outside, they’ll dust off seldom-used Vladimir Radmanovic.

According to head coach Tom Thibodeau, Radmanovic has gotten more comfortable with the defensive sets, so has earned the nod if it presents itself.

No, thanks

With Team USA set to name a successor to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski this summer, they might not want to get any wild ideas about Thibodeau.

“I just worry about our next game,’’ Thibodeau said when asked about that possibility.



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