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Taj Gibson says Bulls will get healthier, stronger

Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah (13) scores over San Antonio Spurs defender Matt Bonner (15)during first half an NBA basketball game

Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah (13) scores over San Antonio Spurs defender Matt Bonner (15)during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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Updated: April 8, 2013 8:06AM



SAN ANTONIO — It wasn’t a warning shot as much as forward Taj Gibson’s unfiltered opinion.

Gibson said the Bulls will be healthy in time for a late-season playoff push, and they’ll be one of the more dangerous matchups in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re going to be dangerous because I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position,’’ Gibson said Wednesday. “We’re the fourth seed [entering the game against the Spurs], and a lot of people doubted us, didn’t even think we would get close to there at the beginning of the year.

‘‘We’ve pushed to get here, and we have a very good team. But we’ll have an even better team once guys get back and are all healthy.’’

Starting with Gibson, who has been rehabbing a sprained left medial collateral ligament and is still hoping to be ready by late next week.

Gibson is in a brace, and the only on-court work he has been doing is shooting from a still position from different spots. So late next week might even be a bit optimistic.

The hope is to have him up and running on the back end of the West Coast trip, along with guards Kirk Hinrich (sore right foot) and Richard Hamilton (back).

That would leave guard Derrick Rose as the only unanswered question.

Gibson sounded like he was counting on Rose’s return at some point, then look out.

“I still feel like we’re going to get healthy at the right time, and we’ll be able to make a good run at the right time,’’ Gibson said. “We’re just taking our time.

‘‘We understand that guys are going to get hurt. We have guys that can step up and learn from it, and we’ll take our time to get healthy.

“Everyone is working hard to get back. No one is lacking in that area; no one is relaxing.

Like Coach [Tom Thibodeau] has been telling us: By the time we get close to the playoffs, we will be at full strength hopefully.’’

Still in pain

Hinrich, who missed his 17th game, was in a walking boot and still feeling pain in his right foot when he puts pressure on it, making a Friday return against the Jazz a bit cloudy.

“Doing everything I can to take care of it,’’ Hinrich said.

The hope is that it’s more about bad luck than a 32-year-old who’s falling apart, especially because the Bulls are on the hook for just over $4 million for Hinrich next season.



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