By Cody Westerlund–
CHICAGO (CBS) — All-Star center Pau Gasol returned to on-floor work at the Bulls’ shootaround Saturday morning for the first time since his right knee flared up with swelling just more than a week ago. Having missed the last three games, Gasol is “feeling better” but admitted he doesn’t expect to play at full health again this year.
“I was feeling some discomfort, soreness, pain to a certain degree,” Gasol said of the origins of the knee problem that got worse on Feb. 11. “I was trying to play through it, push through it, trying to manage it for a while actually, but after that Miami game, the knee just gave out. I had that swelling and reaction, and obviously the alarms went off. We tried to find out what’s going on, and we did. We’re managing it. I’m probably not going to be 100 percent all year. Hopefully, it’s not going to get worse, and we’re not going to have an episode like we did after the Miami game. That’s kind of the hope.”
Gasol won’t play Saturday night when Chicago hosts Utah. The Bulls haven’t ruled out a Monday return for Gasol, though Wednesday seems like the more likely scenario because the team wants to see him string together several practices without a setback. With the Bulls tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, Gasol noted it’s difficult to weigh the urgency of a return with his health.
“You might think about resting for a game or two at times, but we don’t have that luxury in the situation that we’re in,” Gasol said. “We got to push through it, sometimes to the limit.”
In other injury news, reserve guard E’Twaun Moore is expected to miss a week after an MRI on Friday revealed a left hamstring strain, Hoiberg said. If Moore’s out a week, he’d miss four or five games.
Taj Gibson (right hamstring) will play Saturday night, Hoiberg said.