The first emotion to Tuesday's news on Rip Hamilton was relief.
The second was, “Oh, no!”
The Bulls supposedly caught a break when nothing on Hamilton was broken as a result of colliding with Pacers center Roy Hibbert.
Or was it a break?
Hamilton's injury was diagnosed as a right-shoulder contusion and mild sprain. The Bulls are referring to him as day to day.
Maybe the Bulls would be better off if Hamilton were hurt more seriously and definitely out for the season.
Then the Bulls would know that they had to scour the NBA for a healthy shooting guard before the March 15 trade deadline.
With Hamilton iffy, the Bulls can continue living in a fantasy world where he's expected to return one of these day-to-day days to help win a championship.
Maybe the plan is to place one of those Sunday morning televangelists on retainer to lay his hands on every Hamilton owie and bring it back to life.
Or maybe the plan is for everybody associated with the Bulls to pray to his or her own God that Hamilton doesn't get hit by a bus.
Prayerful thinking, though, wouldn't it be?
Odds are that whenever Hamilton comes back this time, he essentially will be the interim solution until his next injury.
No harm, no foul won't do here; it'll have to be no foul, no harm to keep the Ripper healthy.
Somebody on the street will breathe on Hamilton and he'll wind up with pneumonia. Some opponent will brush up against him and his cartilage will tear. Somebody will look at him eerily and his Achilles will explode.
Hamilton is 34 years old, which is 134 for some professional athletes. He has started to look like one of them.
If Hamilton were badly injured now, the Bulls would have no choice but to acknowledge that they need a replacement.
John Paxson and Gar Forman still might think anything is possible — except the Cubs winning a World Series — even Rip Hamilton being basketball-ready for more than the 83 seconds he survived against Indiana.
What's really possible is that if the Bulls don't do anything before March 15, they'll be a shooting guard short of challenging the Miami Heat.
Candidates to become a new Bull are all over the league, some of them legitimate and some of them imaginary.
Everybody from Boston's Ray Allen to Milwaukee's Stephen Jackson and Memphis' O.J. Mayo to Charlotte's Michael Jordan will be mentioned.
Heck, don't be surprised if Brett Favre and Barry Sanders surface on some analysts' radar.
Try to think of reasons for the Bulls to rationalize doing nothing before the trade deadline.
Wait, here's one: There's no point to make a trade because Derrick Rose's back and some Luol Deng body part likely won't make it through the season regardless.
I'm being silly here, but only because it's nervously unclear what the Bulls' strategy will be at shooting guard.
Promote Ronnie Brewer from backup to starter? Let Derrick Rose play both guard spots? Acquire Dwight Howard to play in the backcourt? Wait for Rip Hamilton? Wait'll next year?
Seriously, if we know the Bulls need to trade one of their big men for a shooting guard, surely they do, too.
Now all they have to do is manufacture the right deal for the right guy.
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