Playing in just his fifth game since returning from injury (and his 16th game this season), Hamilton went down with a shoulder injury after colliding with Roy Hibbert in the opening minutes of the Bulls victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
The Bulls will also be without C.J. Watson, who is in a walking boot to protect his sprained right ankle. While Watson is looking at a Monday or Wednesday return next week, there wasn't a target date given for Hamilton.
Hamilton described his injury to the Tribune:
"When I first did it, I felt it pop," Hamilton said. "When I ran downcourt, I could still move my hands so I knew it wasn’t broken. But I was in a lot of pain trying to lift my arm up. And it's still sore."
He didn't try to play down the pain, eliminating the possibility that he could return to the lineup for tomorrow's game against the Bucks.
"I’m just trying to lift my arm up," said Hamilton, who wore a sling. "Ain’t no miracle going to happen tomorrow. I’m just trying to get the swelling out, get my range of motion back. It’s going to be a minute."
It isn't often that players are so candid when speaking of injuries. With the condensed schedule this season, even if Hamilton aims to try to return in a week, he will have missed another five games for the Bulls.
While the team won't try to rush Hamilton back, they have to be wondering how long he will be sidelined.
The Tribune reported that Ronnie Brewer will start in place of Hamilton and John Lucas III will back up Derrick Rose with Watson out. Having to insert Brewer into the starting lineup weakens the impact of the second unit. Being down two players also makes it more difficult for the Bulls to try and limit the minutes that their starters are logging.
While Tom Thibodeau doesn't hesitate to keep his players on the floor if the score is close, in a season like this one, rest and recovery time is more crucial then ever.
In the 16 games that Hamilton has played this season, he has been a solid fit for the Bulls. An additional shooter to help take pressure off of Derrick Rose was something that the Bulls needed. Hamilton addressed this area of concern, while also bringing championship experience. Missing additional time with another injury threatens the opportunity to continue to build upon the natural chemistry he has with his teammates on the floor.
While Hamilton sounds less than optimistic about a speedy recovery, the Bulls will be eagerly awaiting his return.