Taj Gibson left the United Center on Tuesday night without the aide of crutches or even a walking boot which was very refreshing to see given the injuries the Bulls have seen this year.
After entering the game Gibson sparked the Bulls and gave them something they had been lacking since Game 1: a pulse.
He also gave Chicago some fourth quarter consistency stretching himself defensively and making the highlight reels blocking Spencer Hawes moments after stopping Jrue Holiday. Not only were both play amazing, but they displayed Gibson’s ability to cover multiple positions effectively.
This fourth quarter performance, which stunted numerous 76ers attempts to comeback, came after he sprained his ankle in the third. Gibson left the game and headed to the locker room but returned to play almost six fourth quarter minutes.
“I’m going to try to keep it moving,” Gibson said. “I’m looking forward to playing, not sitting out. I’ll be OK.”
He received treatment before leaving Chicago and the Bulls didn’t practice yesterday so Gibson’s availability will be determined more clearly when the Bulls run their shoot around.
Noah Improves, Remains Doubtful
A guy who did leave the United Center in a walking boot was Joakim Noah, who remains doubtful for Game 6.
Noah also received treatment from Bulls doctors before leaving for Philly and the swelling in his ankle has significantly gone down since he severely rolled it in Game 3. Noah hasn’t been accepting interviews but he spoke with Bulls radio play-by-play guy and ace Bulls insider Chuck Swirsky and said he’s “just trying to get out there for the next game.”
“Not being out there with your teammates is hard,” Noah told Swirsky. “This is what you live for is to play in games like this.”
There is no longer any crutches or even a walking boot for Noah but he still isn’t able to run and is just now starting to fully put weight on his ankle. The last thing the Bulls will want to do is rush Noah back and risk furthering his injury. With a Game 6 forced and a Game 7 very much still likely, should Chicago advance to the second round, they will want Noah healthy.
He’s doubtful for Game 6 and most likely will sit, but this only betters his chances of returning for a potential Game 7.