ICYMI: Taj Gibson is a Tough S.O.B.

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The Chicago Bulls overcame a four-point deficit at halftime and beat the Phoenix Suns 112-107 Saturday night, largely in part to the bench scoring the first 19 points for the Bulls in the fourth quarter.

Taj Gibson played a big role in the comeback win, making all five of his fourth-quarter shots, scoring 10 of his 12 points during the last 12 minutes. He added four rebounds, playing 29 minutes.

Here’s Taj tying the game at 85, with a dunk that got the Bulls rolling in the fourth.

Oh, by the way, he played last night’s game with a stage two ligament tear in his left hand. As a matter of fact, Gibson’s been playing with that tear for the last month.

Damn, Taj!

I know hockey players get praised all the time for being tough, but playing through that is pretty damn tough, too.

That hasn’t been the only injury he’s been playing through, though, only Gibson’s ankle trouble doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.

Maybe that’s why Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was so interested in going after Kendrick Perkins for insurance if Gibson’s hand and/or ankle become a bigger problem come playoff time. Unfortunately for Thibs, Perkins signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Utah Jazz bought out his contract, following his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Producing While Injured

As fans, we were all frustrated with the Derrick Rose drama a couple years ago, when doctors cleared him to play, but he never returned, while at the same time Joakim Noah battled planter fasciitis, but still managed to play in every playoff game in 2013.

That’s why Noah has always been a fan favorite. He brings energy and intensity every game and plays when he’s not 100 percent. Gibson is once again showing this season that he’s right there with Noah, playing through two nagging injuries and still producing off the bench.

Gibson said he first was injured against the Cavs on Jan. 19, and since then has been pushing through the pain.

Gibson traced the injury back to a Jan. 19 loss in Cleveland, after which Thibodeau asked him to play through the pain because Chicago – beset by injuries all season and with Noah still slowed – needed him.

“He always says that to me every day – ‘You’re from Brooklyn, you’re tough,’” Gibson said. “I just feed off what he preaches to me. I just try to be a no-excuse kind of guy and do my job.

“They didn’t know what we could do. They put like a big cast on my hand, and I don’t wish it on anybody. I didn’t tell anybody until now. It’s almost healed up. But like I said, never a give a team any excuse. Never give a team … a trigger point on you to slow your game down. That’s why I always stayed quiet. Whatever happens, whatever criticism I take, that’s what I’m going to take.”

Since Jan. 25, roughly four weeks ago, Gibson has averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds, playing 27.3 minutes in the past 11 games.

While disclosing his hand injury after Saturday’s game, Gibson also refuted reports that he was unhappy with the Bulls.

Gibson was said to be on the trading block, but now that the deadline has passed, fans better hope he gets healthier, especially if they want to see a deep run in the playoffs.

You have to love his mindset.

Thibs is right. Taj is a helluva warrior.

taj gif

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