When Chicago Bulls guard Richard Hamilton was pulled out in the third quarter of their 93-98 win over the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night with a foot issues, it was hard to determine the seriousness of the injury.
But after Richard Hamilton returned to the free throw line in the final moments of the came and seemingly aggravated the injury, all sirens were being sounded for the Chicago Bulls.
“I was able to put a little weight on it, so I could go back in the game. It wasn’t 100 percent or anything like that, but I felt I could help the team,” Richard Hamilton stated about the injury after Saturday’s game. “I jumped up, as soon as I came up I felt something pop in the bottom of my foot…When it happened it scared me.”
“I felt I did not want to put pressure on it, but it was not a whole lot of pain,” continued Richard Hamilton. “He (Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau) did not want to put me back at first. But I’m like, ‘I’m good, I’m good.’ I won’t know what it is until I get an MRI.”
It now appears the follow-up setback put an odd twist on Richard Hamilton’s injury and turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Chicago Bulls.
MRI scan of the injury revealed that Richard Hamilton had torn the plantar fascia in his left foot. However, the Chicago Bulls will be treating the recent development as news of Richard Hamilton’s early return.
Typically, the painful inflammation due plantar fasciitis at the bottom of one’s foot can sideline a player for months. At times, even treatment of the injury induces a tear, which surprisingly speeds up the healing process. Thus the foot injury which could have turned out to be serious in case of a sprain and cost Richard Hamilton quite some time on the bench has instead sped up his return schedule, with possibility of playing again in a week or two.
Although Richard Hamilton’s stats have been less that stable this season, he was averaging around 14 points per on 45.5 percent shooting while playing 27 minutes per game.
In Richard Hamilton’s absence, Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli’s playtime at the shooting guard spot could increase. In the past few games Tom Thibodeau has been thrusting the ball to Richard Hamilton all too often. The opening gives Marco Belinelli who has been averaging five points under 14.7 minutes per game prime opportunity to take more shots. However, Marco Belinelli has remained productive from the arc shooting over 40 percent on three pointers.
Jimmy Butler has also posted a strong performance this season, earning a spot in Tom Thibodeau’s rotation as a defensive replacement. Although Jimmy Butler has seemed at times reluctant to take the shot, he still shows offensive talents which could help the second-year guard progress in the role and expand his horizon. The 23-year-old Jimmy Butler is currently averaging 5.4 points on 52.9 percent shooting along with 14.3 percent from the arc, while playing 15.9 minutes per game.