Bulls point guard and captain Kirk Hinrich tested his injured calf and determined he’s unable to play in Game 7 against the Nets Saturday night at Barclays Center. It will be the third straight game Hinrich has missed, and the Nets won the previous two to even the series 3-3.
“He’s out,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said to open his pregame media conference about 75 minutes before the 8 p.m. game. “He’s not quite there.”
After the Bulls’ morning shootaround, Thibodeau announced that starting forward Luol Deng, who missed Game 6 after undergoing a spinal tap on Wednesday to check for viral meningitis, still was under hospital care in Chicago and also would miss Game 7.
Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson, who suffered from flu-like symptomd during Game 6, Thibodeau said, are feeling better. “They’re good,” Thibodeau said. “Everyone’s good.”
By “everyone,” Thibodeau meant what’s left of his decimated roster. The Bulls started Robinson and Marco Belinelli in the backcourt for Game 6 along with center Joakim Noah and forwards Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler. Thibodeau was non-committal when asked if there might be any chances to that starting lineup.
In Game 6, Gibson got more than 17 minutes off the bench, while Thibodeau used Marquis Teague, Nazr Mohammed and Rip Hamilton for a combined total of just under 10 minutes. In other words, Thibodeau is down to a rotation of six players getting the bulk of the minutes unless he decides to change.
In terms of manpower, the Nets have an obvious advantage, but nothing has come easy against the Bulls and Thibodeau said he doesn’t expect to use injuries as an excuse. “I feel good about the rest of the guys,” Thibodeau said. “They’re ready to get the job done.”