Bulls defense missing Kirk Hinrich

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- If defense is the question for the Chicago Bulls, maybe Kirk Hinrich is the answer.

Hinrich practiced on Tuesday after sitting out Monday’s 101-95 loss to the Boston Celtics with a right hip injury. He’s hopeful to play Wednesday night when the Bulls kick off their annual “circus trip” in Phoenix.

“We missed him but we have more than enough,” coach Tom Thibodeau said, before leaving on the road trip. “We should have been able to get it done.”

That may or may not be true, because Hinrich is simply a superior defender than Nate Robinson or rookie Marquis Teague, and facing Rajon Rondo on Monday, the Bulls needed that superior defender.

“I was pretty bummed out because it wasn’t trending good,” Hinrich said of his injury. “I don’t want to be in and out of the lineup. That’s my focus right now. Figure out the root of problems and take care of them and stay on top of them.”

Hinrich was talking about more than just his hip which he injured in Saturday’s night’s game against Minnesota. He said it felt like a muscle pull and he’s had one too many of those lately. The injury-prone Hinrich missed time in the preseason with a groin injury.

“Between now and (Wednesday) I’ll just get as much treatment as I can,” he said. “At some point I’ll have to push it to see how I feel.”

After watching Rondo torch them for a near triple double (20/10/9) while the Celtics shot 51 percent from the field, the Bulls hope to see Hinrich back quickly.

“Each game reveals things you have to work on,” Thibodeau said.

Monday’s revealed it’s going to be tough for the Bulls to win many games if there are new injuries. Playing without Derrick Rose has given them little margin for error. Robinson did his best, as did Teague, but that’s hardly a consolation when a guy like Rondo is going off.

“It’s only going to help me get better,” Teague said. “If you can guard him, you can guard anybody.”

And when Thibodeau had seen enough of Robinson through three quarters he went to Teague for the entire fourth. Rondo didn’t score in the final 12 minutes but he didn’t need to. The damage was done.

“(Teague is) a very talented athlete,” Hinrich said. “Long arms, good shooter. He did great. Try not to overwhelm him with anything. I want him to know if he has any questions I’m here for him, but more than anything I want to help him by example.”

And the only way to do that is to get healthy and back in the lineup. Hinrich wore the frustration of his injury woes on his face. After suffering hamstring and shoulder injuries in Atlanta, he’s already dealt with groin and hip problems in Chicago. They’ve been minor, but nagging.

“The focus is what’s at the root of causing all my muscular problems and go from there.”

The sooner the better for the Bulls. The circus trip awaits.


  • “I didn’t think too much about it. I just stayed out there and kept playing and did what coach Thibs asked me to do.” – Teague, on playing the entire fourth quarter Monday night.

  • “There’s lot of new guys. Different strengths and weaknesses. We have to figure that out but we have to do it quickly.” – Thibodeau, on not using roster turnover as an excuse.