Rip Hamitlon has torn his plantar fascia in his left foot and will be out… well, he will be out until you see him on the court again. Given the Bulls reluctance to hand out any information about a player’s health and Rip’s old, aching body, it is damn-near impossible to say when the crotchety veteran will see the hardwood next. Actually, in the official press release, the Bulls drew a giant middle finger under the “Expected Return” section. On the plus side, as KC Johnson points out, James Johnson was out only one game when he suffered a similar injury in 2010. On reality’s side, Rip is a good four decades older than Johnson was at that time.
The injury occurred in the third quarter of Saturday night’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Rip was carried off the court and into the locker room shortly after he heard a pop. That did not keep Thibs from bringing him back out there when the Bulls needed free throw shooters to ice the game. Or, Thibs was possibly just testing the injury, postulating that a mere foot injury should not keep a starter from playing starter’s minutes.
Anywho, your Chicago Bulls now have the option of starting James Butler or Marco Belinelli in Rip’s stead. In a turn of good news, starting one of this pair is not the loathsome prospect it would have been a month ago, as both shooting guards have improved as the season has progressed. Conversely, taking out an offensive weapon on a team where that entity is at a premium is not a tasty dish.
Given Rip’s lack of health over the past few seasons, this injury – or some version of it – was more/less expected. More than other seasons, we were all hoping for a miraculous injury-free year from a group who has had its share of owies. Now, I suppose, we will trudge on, keeping our fingers crossed that this will be the last setback for these Bulls.