Chicago Bulls will be without Taj Gibson after the power forward suffered a badly sprained ankle during Friday night’s defeat to high-flyers Portland Trail Blazers.
Gibson, 29, landed awkwardly on his left ankle halfway through the third quarter while unchallenged. The 2009 first-round pick required help to limp off the court and his ankle was X-rayed but it failed to show any further damage than the initial swelling.
ESPN.com reported the forward left the Bulls locker room on crutches and with a supportive walking boot on. During a post-match interview, Gibson said he was frustrated with the injury after he watched his teammates go down 105-87 to the Trail Blazers.
“It’s the same lingering injury,” he told ESPN.com.
“Just keep trying to play through it, trying to be there for my teammates. All summer I was trying to rehab the same ankle and it just keeps flaring up. I just took some time off from it and tried to rush back. I’m just frustrated.”
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The 29-year-old has suffered similar problems with the same ankle earlier in the season. During the Bulls' season home opener on October 31st against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Gibson had complained about discomfort in his left ankle. Despite the injury, the forward decided to play through the pain but Friday’s twist proofed to be the breaking point.
The Bulls support team were unable to give Gibson a forecast for how long he’ll be out of action and he will join Derrick Rose (strained hamstring), Pau Gasol (strained calf) and Kirk Hinrich (brusied ribs) on the side-lines for Chicago.
“I have to be patient,” Gibson added. “I’m trying to run out there to try and play through these things. But it’s just the dog in me that wants to be out there and play, and I have to just learn from this.”
Gibson, who joined Chicago Bulls back in 2009 as a rookie, has spent his entire professional career with the six-time NBA champions and has picked up two divisional titles in 2011 and 2012.
Since the start of last season Gibson has arguably been playing the best basketball of his NBA career. The 29-year-old is receiving more game time and as a result scoring more points while also boosting his field goal percentage above 50%.
The 29-year-old is a serious doubt to feature in the Bull’s trip to Utah Jazz tonight. Gibson is likely to test his ankle later this week which will help the medical team make a decision on his comeback.