Hamilton may return earlier than expected from foot injury
December 7, 2012, 10:55 am
AUBURN HILLS, MICH.—Back in Detroit, where he won a championship and was an All-Star for the Pistons, Bulls starting shooting Rip Hamilton addressed the media for the first time since tearing his left plantar fascia last week. Hamilton, who injured his left foot in the team’s home win Saturday over Philadelphia—though he hurt himself in the first half of the contest, he returned in the game’s waning moments to knock down clutch free throws to help seal the victory—revealed that he could be out for a month with his ailment, but there’s a possibility that he could return to the court sooner.
“It’s getting a little better every day. I’m really working hard on it. I’m trying to get flexibility, trying to get the swelling and blood that’s in there down, things like that, so every day it gets better. The good thing about it is there hasn’t been a setback or anything like that,” he said prior to the Bulls’ morning shootaround Friday at the opulent campus of the Detroit Country Day School, alma mater of retired NBA player Chris Webber and current Miami Heat forward Shane Battier. “They [the Bulls’ medical staff] said four weeks, but they said that I can probably come back before that. Everybody’s body’s different. It’s just one of those things where you just want to try to get better every day.
“I wasn’t surprised. I thought the tape exploded on my foot. Talking to the doctor [Brian Cole, the Bulls’ team physician], he said that it was probably a good thing that it happened, just so the whole [plantar fascia], when you have it, it tends to stick with players all year, so when it popped, it was actually a good thing. Once it heals, it’ll be okay,” continued Hamilton, who held his summer basketball camps at the school when he played for the Pistons. “Just trying to get the swelling out of it. Typical ice, [electronic stimulation], ultrasound. We do some stuff with the ball, try to roll it, massage it. A lot of massaging it, just to try to get the bottom of my foot stronger.”
Hamilton noted that while he isn’t doing any conditioning during his absence, “I don’t get out of shape,” repeating it for emphasis when pressed for details.
The 34-year-old veteran, who is averaging 13.9 points per game this season, likes how his replacements, Marco Belinelli, who scored a season-high 23 points in the Bulls’ Tuesday win over Cleveland as a fill-in starter, and second-year swingman Jimmy Butler have been progressing in his absence.
“They’ve been great. I thought the first game, they were just kind of feeling it out, the Indiana game. I thought the last game, they came out a lot more aggressive. Marco played great, getting to the basket, getting guys involved, making his shots. Doing what he does, he’s a shooter. I tell him, ‘You shoot too well to be pump-faking.’ I thought he did well,” Hamilton said. “Jimmy’s been getting better each and every game all season, so I like the way that he’s been playing.
Hamilton is disappointed that he’ll be sidelined for the Bulls’ game against his former team Friday night—last season, in his injury-plagued Bulls debut campaign, he suffered a setback after suiting up against the Pistons—where he starred alongside the likes of current Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, Knicks reclamation project Rasheed Wallace and Detroit’s lone holdover from its 2004 title run, small forward Tayshaun Prince, a veteran used to winning upon his arrival in the league, but now demoted to a backup on a struggling, rebuilding team in the midst of a youth movement.
“This is the game I’ve got on my calendar, if any. This is the one game that I mark before the season even starts and say, ‘All right, I can’t wait,’ and to be injured, it’s frustrating to me because you want to help your team get a win,” he explained. “Me and ‘Tay,’ ‘Chaunce,’ all of us, we’re like brothers, so we talk once or twice a week. I talk to Tay all the time. Sometimes just hoping different things, but it is what it is. But it’s just one of those things he’s trying to get through.”
Tags: Chicago Bulls
, Marco Belinelli
, Rip Hamilton