PHILADELPHIA — Injuries have been a theme taking center stage in Chicago as of late, and the Bulls free agent acquisition is one of the recurring names on a laundry list of banged up Bulls. Hamilton bruised his thigh in Sunday’s loss to the Heat and sat out Monday’s win in Washington. Now signs are pointing to Hamilton sitting out, perhaps, even longer then Luol Deng.
It’s possible, if not likely, Luol Deng will return from injury before Richard Hamilton.” Chicago Tribune beat writer K.C. Johnson said.
The reason for Hamilton being shut down by the Bulls is his proneness to injury this season. Hamilton has already missed significant time recovering from a groin injury with last week marking the first time all year he’s consistently been in the lineup. Now with a deep, high thigh bruise, shutting down Hamilton is in the Bulls best interest.
It seems that ‘it’s in their best interest’ is a broken record statement as of late. It was said about resting Derrick Rose after he sprained his toe, it was said about Luol Deng and the torn ligament in his wrist and it’s again being said for a third consecutive week in Chicago regarding the health of another big-time starter.
But the reason it’s being repeated so much is because it’s true. The Bulls don’t need these guys now. Despite losing two of their last three before beating the Wizards on Monday, the Bulls still owned the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls went an entire week –four games Monday to Saturday — without Derrick Rose and lost just once.
The Bulls have lost more games without Luol Deng then they did without Rose — which has sparked some to say he’s the most valuable Bull — and they will continue to win games without him. They nearly beat the Heat and nearly beat the Pacers without Deng without losing confidence that they could indeed beat those teams.
So resting Hamilton now isn’t the world’s worst tragedy. He’s played in less games then he’s missed this year, so to say the team will fall apart without him is a lie. But it is tough to rest a guy who looked like he was right about to hit a hot streak.
Chicago doesn’t need Hamilton, Rose and Deng now, they need them healthy in April and May when they are trying to secure high playoff positioning and when they are trying to win a championship. The reason Rip was signed was so he could not only provide another scoring option to boost the offense, but so he could help lead this team into the thick of the playoffs.
If Hamilton plays now and continues to re-aggrevate prior injuries, he’ll be of little use when he’s needed the most. Hamilton, like all the Bulls that have suffered injuries which have sidelined them, acknowledges that although it’s not fun to sit, it is beneficial to the team in the long run.
It’s frustrating,” Hamilton said. “But I have to get healthy.”