You wouldnt know it by his 13-point, five-rebound, four-assist night, but Taj Gibson tweaked his ankle in the first half of Tuesday nights Bulls win over Boston.
Gibson gutted it out, however, and while he didnt have his normal explosiveness, he was a major reason why the team bounced back from a disappointing loss Monday in Memphis.
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I just pushed off and re-aggravated it from the playoffs last year. Its been nagging me, but I just kept playing and had to hurry up and ice it down, Gibson said about the injury. It was just one of those plays. I tried to plant and I just re-aggravated my ankle, thats all.
I just was trying to focus on getting stops on defense, focus on controlling the defense the way Thibs wants me to do, see plays and get stops. I kept playing, my teammates kept looking for me, Joakim especially, Nate. Everybody kept telling me to shoot the ball still because they feel that I have a good jump shot...Everybody was real unselfish and trying to make plays, he continued. I wanted to focus on getting it on the backboard. Just trying to get it up, my hook shot game and I remember one came off the rim. I wanted to get it so bad, but I had no lift. But Im just happy that we got the win.
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Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau lauded the power forwards effort.
Taj was terrific. Taj defended multiple positions, allowed us to do some switching. He made a lot of tough plays for us, he said. He said he was fine, so it was good. It showed a lot of toughnessmental toughness, physical toughnessto get through it.
With the Bulls next game being in Gibsons hometown of New York against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn native expects to be on the floor Friday.
Im pretty confident Ill be fine. Knowing me and knowing the way Thibs and our training staff work on things, I should be fine, he said. Its the Garden. I cant miss that.