Hamilton participated fully in the Bulls' shootaround on Friday morning and warmed up on the United Center floor to prior to Friday's night game. He was considered a game-time decision by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, and Hamilton said 45 minutes prior to tip-off he was unsure whether he would face his former team.
Thibodeau said his ultimate decision was based on him being extra careful with Hamilton's return.
"He's real close," Thibodeau said. "I just thought another day would be good. I talked to him before the game. I wasn't quite comfortable with him yet. … We've been patient this long. I just want to make sure it's the right time for him."
Thibodeau also said it was difficult to gauge the perfect time to bring Hamilton back because of the difference between contact in practice and games.
"A game is totally different," Thibodeau said. "Right now, we have minimal contact in practice. That's where it becomes difficult to read where he is in terms of taking hits. He's going to get hit out there when he's coming off screens. The contact is part of the game. We're playing it safe. It was my call more than his."
Hamilton has been out since injuring his right shoulder on March 5. He's played in just 16 games this season because of various injuries, averaging 11.3 points.