Taj Gibson Injury: Updates on Bulls Forward's Ankle and Return

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

Apr 13, 2014; New York, NY, USA;  Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) brings the ball up court during the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls lost forward Taj Gibson to an ankle injury late in their pivotal Game 5 Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff loss to the Washington Wizards.

According to ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell, Gibson took a nasty spill in the fourth quarter after landing awkwardly on his ankle:

The team quickly announced his status to return was questionable with about six minutes left in the contest:

Friedell added more after the game:

Before the injury, Gibson put in 25 minutes of work and tallied 12 points, four rebounds and three blocks.

An obvious favorite for the Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging 13 points, 6.8 boards and 1.4 blocks per game in the regular season off the bench, Gibson was once again the glue piece on Tuesday night, as he helped his team attempt to fend off elimination.

Gibson scored a minimum of 12 points and four rebounds in each contest against Washington. On an otherwise shaky roster, he was a critical component that saved the Bulls from being swept outright—the only other capable players who could absorb minutes at the position were Carlos Boozer and Louis Amundson.

It's not all bad news for Gibson.

The injury and finality of his fifth pro season via first-round elimination sting, but he has plenty of recovery time ahead and will surely be ready to get back to work next season.

The future looks bright in that regard, as the Bulls can stockpile talent this offseason to help build around Gibson, who will surely be a starter next year at the 4.

Add in Derrick Rose's return and Joakim Noah next to Gibson beneath the rim, and the Bulls already have the look of a playoff contender yet again.


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