The Berto Center was quiet Friday. The Bulls held a film session and team meeting, then most of the players left before reporters were let into the gym.
The one player remaining provided a bit of news. It was Richard Hamilton, who hasn't played since Feb. 26 because of a sore back and has been largely out of sight since then.
"He comes in every day. You guys don't see him, but he's here," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We want him to get healthy and get back. He's got to work hard on his rehab. He's never had a problem with his back before. Hopefully it will move along quickly."
Many were beginning to wonder if Hamilton would play again for the Bulls. There are 15 games left in the regular season and Hamilton is not expected back with the team next year.
Then again, his spot in the rotation is available. Marco Belinelli has filled in well, for the most part, but he was off-target (3-for-10) in Thursday's loss to Portland, and Thibodeau isn't showing much faith in Daequan Cook, who didn't play at all against the Blazers.
"The thing is, he's a veteran, playoff experience," Thibodeau said of Hamilton. "He gives you a catch-and-shoot game, has the ability to make plays. Most teams are going to trap him. If you get two on the ball, it's going to be easy offense."
Asked if Hamilton would start ahead of Belinelli if he does come back, Thibodeau deferred.
"That's too far down the road," he said. "We'll figure it out when we get there. I just want him to get healthy and get back."
Thibs tones it down:
After the Bulls lost by 42 points in Sacramento last week, coach Tom Thibodeau vowed to "drive harder." Following the overtime loss to Denver on Monday, he didn't want to hear about how well the Bulls played against a hot team.
"We've got to get the job done," he said.
The tone softened after Thursday's loss to Portland. The final margin was 99-89, but the Bulls trailed by 27 heading into the fourth quarter. In his news conference, Thibodeau talked about rust and changing lineups. Both Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson returned from injuries against the Blazers.
"Everything we do offensively and defensively is five guys tied together," Thibodeau said Friday. "If one guy is out of place or not doing their job, everyone's going to look bad. We added two guys into the rotation, so it was a little choppy. We're capable of doing a lot better."
Coach Tom Thibodeau said both Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson were feeling good the day after returning from injuries. They are expected to play today against Indiana. … According to reports, Kendall Gill, the Bulls pre and postgame analyst on Comcast SportsNet, will be suspended for the remainder of the season. Gill reportedly had a physical altercation in the news room Tuesday with a guest on another CSN show.