Rip Hamilton struggling with injury

ORLANDO, Fla. - Chicago Bulls guard Rip Hamilton (shoulder) doesn't sound like he's coming back on the floor any time soon.

Hamilton, who injured his right shoulder during a March 5 win over the Indiana Pacers, said after Monday night's win over the Orlando Magic that he just recently has started making improvements.

"Just a few days ago I was able to get my hand over my head, so that was the biggest thing," Hamilton said. "Getting my hand over my head and things like that. We've shot a little bit underneath the basket, but nothing (far). One-foot, two-feet out."

Hamilton, who has only played in 16 games this season because of shoulder, groin and thigh injuries, did not want to put a timetable on his return.

"You just want it to continue to get better every single day," Hamilton said. "It's really hard to put a timetable on it. As long as we continue to progress, I just hope for the best really."

Hamilton acknowledged that no matter when he returns, he knows he will have to deal with some pain for the rest of the year.

"The pain is still there," Hamilton said. "I think even when I come back, it's still going to be pain. I don't think it's going to be something where it's going to be pain-free. I know time is not on my (side), so I know when I come back, it's probably still going to be pain. I think the biggest thing with me is just trying to get my range of motion where I'm going to be able to shoot the ball because it's my right side."

While the Bulls continue to play well in his absence, they will need both Hamilton, who joined the Bulls this season, and injured point guard Derrick Rose (groin) to be healthy in the playoffs.

"We're not fazed about (injuries)," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "But we know that (in the postseason), we're going to need our dogs and Rip and Pooh are our dogs."

Hamilton is just hoping he can get back on the floor as soon as possible.

"It's getting better every day," he said. "I think that's the key thing that we wanted, to get better every day and not have any setbacks. We've been doing that so far."

Hamilton is averaging 11 points on the year.