Bulls forward Carlos Boozer did not practice Thursday, but his turf toe injury is improving and coach Tom Thibodeau is hopeful he will play in Game 1 of the Bulls' Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at the United Center.
Boozer suffered the injury in the second quarter of Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers on
Tuesday night. When the Bulls returned to the practice floor at the Berto Center on Thursday, he received treatment for the injury, lifted weights and watched practice.
Asked if he expected Boozer to play, Thibodeau said, ''It's hard to say, but I'm thinking he will be able to.
''He's getting quite a bit of treatment. He's getting rest. Doing some lifting and things like that. The big thing is he feels a lot better today than he did yesterday.''
If Boozer can't go, Taj Gibson likely would start in his place. Gibson started the first 14 games of the regular season in place of Boozer, who was recovering from a broken hand. He averaged 10.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 28 minutes in 19 starts during the regular season.
''Knowing Carlos I think he's going to play,'' Gibson said. ''I know he's going to play hard. He's going to play well. However many minutes I get, I'm going in and doing my job, play with a lot of energy and just play. I'm ready to jump in whenever coach Tibs needs me.''