If you think the condensed schedule has been tough on the players imagine what the Bulls' training staff is going through. Athletic trainer Fred Tedeschi and his staff will have to treat themselves for cramps and dehydration if they are forced to keep up this pace much longer.
On a night when Taj Gibson returned to the floor late in the first quarter after missing three games with a high-ankle sprain, Rip Hamilton re-appeared on the injured list with a bruised thigh sustained in Wednesday night's loss to the Pacers.
Hamilton was unable to finish Friday morning's shootaround and was considered a game-time decision, as was Gibson. Hamilton was initially listed as the starter at shooting guard but was replaced by Kyle Korver right before tipoff and did not play in the game.
"Taj is moving great," coach Tom Thibodeau said of Gibson. "Each day he's getting better."
Meanwhile, Luol Deng appeared ready to return as soon as Sunday against the Miami Heat despite a torn ligament in his left wrist. Deng has been effective defending Dwayne Wade in the past. After missing six straight games with an ankle injury, Wade was in the starting lineup for Friday night's game against the Knicks.
"Each day he's getting better," Thibodeau said of Deng. "He still has to take contact on it but he's moving in the right direction."
Thibodeau isn't worried about Deng being ready to play when he does return.
"The guy's in great shape, stays in great shape," he said. "The advantage that he has over most is he stays in great shape year round. A lot of guys take time off in the summer from conditioning, he doesn't, the fact that he's in such great shape, unfortunately he's taken on an injury, the fact that he's in great shape helps him."