Gibson out vs. Nets, return uncertain

Taj Gibson said he returned too soon from his injury and won't make that mistake again. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

NEW YORK -- Tom Thibodeau said Thursday that before any decision is made on whether to shut down Taj Gibson for the rest of the season, Gibson will be evaluated by team doctors.

Gibson will miss Thursday's game in Brooklyn after re-injuring his left knee on Tuesday in Washington. Gibson, who previously missed three weeks with the injury, confirmed that an MRI taken Wednesday revealed no significant tear and that he merely aggravated the MCL in his left knee that he sprained in a Feb. 24 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"It's good news," Gibson said. "I felt like it would be good news depending on how everything [looked]. There was a little bit of swelling but it was mostly like scar tissue. The only thing about it was it was just painful.

"It shows that I still have a long way to go as far as my rehabilitation, just getting the leg strong. Because the way it buckled on me I was just on a lateral slide and it just buckled on me. It was real painful. We'll have to see how it's going to go this morning in practice, but just keep pushing."

Nine games remain in the regular season, and Gibson is hoping to come back before the playoffs.

"Yeah, that's the mindset," Gibson said. "I don't really plan on hopefully being out a long time. It depends on how I'm feeling. It's sore right now and it could be less sore [Friday]. That's how the knee works."

Gibson knows that no matter when he comes back he will have to play through pain.

"Yeah, that's [what] I have my mind set on when I first came back," he said. "I knew that we were sliding down the pole, almost close to the eighth spot with the way Boston was playing and stuff like that. I just wanted to come out here and try to help us get some wins and bring a little bit of energy from being in the back and seeing the games the way I see them. For this [injury] to happen right now just shows I came back a little too quick, I think. But we're on the right track and I'm just going to keep moving forward."

As for the rest of the injured Bulls players, Marco Belinelli (ab strain) and Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) will not return Thursday. Thibodeau noted that Derrick Rose (knee) and Rip Hamilton's (lower back) status has not changed.