Taj Gibson rolls ankle

Updated: May 9, 2012, 1:48 AM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- With Derrick Rose out with a torn ACL and Joakim Noah in street clothes with a sprained ankle, Taj Gibson gave Chicago Bulls fans a scare Tuesday when he fell to the ground and began clutching his right ankle after a defensive sequence under the basket with 2:06 left in the third quarter.

"It was kind of eerie," Gibson said of the crowd's reaction to his injury. "It was kind of a weird feeling.

"I just jumped up. I just wanted to get back to the locker room and get it re-taped and jump back out on the court."

Gibson returned to the court with 6:43 remaining in the fourth and helped the Bulls capture a 77-69 win in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers, who take a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 on Thursday.

"I was going back regardless," Gibson said. "I didn't care about the pain. I was going to go out there and fight. I knew my teammates had put a whole bunch of effort. I knew it was do or die. You just got to lay it on the line. If it hurts, just go out and play."

Gibson was slowed by the injury and had a noticeable limp, but he still was able to contribute with four points and one rebound down the stretch. He finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes off the bench.

Gibson said he hadn't been concerned about doing further damage to his ankle. He was driven by adrenaline as much as anything.

"(My heart) was pumping," Gibson said. "Just wanting to go out there and help my team any way I can.

"I was worried about riding until the wheels go off. That's the only thing. I said the only way they take me off this court is if I get hurt again. God is good. I didn't do anything more to it."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and 76ers coach Doug Collins both recognized Gibson's play.

"Taj is playing great for us right now," Thibodeau said. "You hate to see anyone go down. He has a lot of toughness. We need everybody. You never know where it is going to come from."

Collins credited Gibson's defense, which helped the Bulls limit Philly to 32 percent field goal shooting.

"The guy that has done a great job for them is Taj Gibson," Collins said.

Gibson planed to be ready for Game 6.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to play," Gibson said. "I'm looking forward to playing. I just want to go home. I'm just going to go over there and lay it on the line."

Gibson was also the center of attention when he and 76ers forward Elton Brand dove for a loose ball and began wrestling for it on the ground in the second quarter. Players from both teams raced to the scene, and after the referees cleared the area Brand and Gibson were given technicals.

Gibson downplayed the incident afterward.

"It was nothing," Gibson said. "It's playoff basketball. It's us going hard. It's players playing hard for their teams. I got a lot of respect for Elton Brand. It's about playoff basketball. There's no hard feelings."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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