Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose Likely Out, Hamilton May Return vs. Hawks

Mick AkersAnalyst IMarch 28, 2012

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls speaks to Derrick Rose #1 and Richard Hamilton #32 during their game against the Sacramento Kings at Power Balance Pavilion on December 29, 2011 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls will likely get some help in the guard department on Wednesday night, with Richard Hamilton likely to return against the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, according to Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.

The news is not exactly what many Bulls fans wanted to hear, as reigning NBA MVP Bulls guard Derrick Rose is all but guaranteed to miss his eighth straight game with a groin injury.

Rose said of his and Hamilton's injury situations:

"He's looking good," Rose said Monday. "He's moving way better than I am right now. He's in practice. I'm just on the side just watching. But he's moving good. If anything, I think that he should be ready to play any given night."

With his comments, it appears that Rose is not anywhere near close to making his return to this Bulls team. Nevertheless, this is the only team in the NBA to have already clinched a playoff spot.

The Bulls have gone 5-2 without their leader. They have defeated quality teams such as the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic in Rose's absence.

Hamilton's return, on the other hand, is a silver lining in the Rose situation. The Bulls picked him up just before the season began, hoping he could give them another scoring option, which is something they lacked last season.

Hamilton has only played in 16 games this season and will be a key factor in the Bulls making it past the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were embarrassed by the Heat last summer.

Hamilton is averaging 11.3 points, 3.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds in an average of 25.8 minutes played per game.

The Bulls would benefit from Hamilton making a return. Even though they have made a successful run without him and Rose recently, they were blown out at home by the Denver Nuggets 108-91 in their last outing on Monday night.