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Friday, May 10, 2013
Rip not much help for banged-up Bulls

By Doug Padilla

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- As injuries and illness have taken a toll on the Chicago Bulls during the first nine games of the NBA playoffs, nearly 10,000 minutes of postseason experience are wasting away at the end of the bench.

Rip Hamilton has played in just 10 minutes of two games so far in the playoffs, but coach Tom Thibodeau has avoided using his veteran. In what has become a theme for the Bulls, it is once again because of injury.

"He's feeling OK, but I still don't think he's moving great," Thibodeau said. "It's a tough situation; he's handling it well. We'll see."

Hamilton's issue continues to be with a back injury that forced him to miss all but five games over the final two months of the season. After playing in a Feb. 26 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a bulging disc kept him out until April 9 when he faced the Toronto Raptors.

Hamilton played just seven minutes in the playoff opener April 20 against the Brooklyn Nets and three minutes in Game 6. He has not played in two games against the Heat.

Hamilton participated in the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons as a member of the Detroit Pistons, winning the title in 2004 and returning to the NBA Finals in 2005. He also played in six games for the Bulls in last year's playoffs.

For now, though, all that experience is being utilized on the motivation side rather than the playing side.

"Mentally, he's great," Thibodeau said. "Rip has a great mind, that's the thing I have a lot of respect for what he's done. Physically, he's not there right now."