The Chicago Bulls turned in a playoff performance on Saturday that is worthy of hanging with those had in the Michael Jordan era. They erased a 14-point deficit to win a triple-overtime thriller over the Brooklyn Nets and took a commanding 3-1 series lead. The guys getting all the credit for the win is Nate Robinson, and rightfully so as he went bananas on the Nets, scoring 29 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter. But Kirk Hinrich contributed to the win by tying Michael Jordan and Steve Vincent’s playoff assist record.
But the record tying performance came at a price, as an MRI taken after Saturday’s win suggested that the Bulls point guard has a bruised calf and it’s an injury that Hinrich is calling “pretty bad”.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau said that the injury was indeed a bruise, but Thibodeau is also the type of coach that tells your to rub some dirt on it when you gash your hand. The question now becomes if Hinrich’s calf is indeed as bad as the guard is letting on, will he be available for Chicago’s pivotal Game 5 matchup in Brooklyn?
Chicago is no stranger to injuries this season, and that extends beyond the obvious absence of Derrick Rose. Joakim Noah is only playing at about 65 percent right now and Hinrich has been hobbled all season long. Rip Hamilton missed Game 4 and is reportedly still trying to find his rhythm but would be asked to step up if the Bulls are forced to go without Hinrich.
But while Hinrich’s injury is an inconvenience, the Bulls have the luxury of being up 3-1 in the series and have time to close the series out. Hinrich’s absence would hurt, but Chicago is harnessing all the momentum in the series right now and if they want to stand a chance against the Miami Heat in the next round, they’ll need everyone as healthy as they can get them.