Bulls' Gasol questionable for Game 4 against Cavaliers
CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol is questionable for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers because of a strained left hamstring.
Gasol left Friday night's game, and an MRI showed no major structural damage, although coach Tom Thibodeau said he was ''not sure'' how severe the strain is. He also said ''we'll see how he feels'' when asked if the five-time All-Star will play Sunday.
Thibodeau would not say who would start if Gasol is unavailable, although Taj Gibson would be a likely candidate. Nikola Mirotic could get more playing time, too.
Gasol was seen in practice gear Saturday but did not address the media. The Bulls lead the series 2-1 after Derrick Rose banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer on Friday.
''It's our leader,'' Mirotic said. ''Hopefully, let's see if he can play (Sunday). But we need to be ready maybe to play with a small (lineup).''
The Bulls lead the series 2-1 after Derrick Rose banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 99-96 victory Friday. They have a chance to take a commanding lead with Game 4 at home. But it won't be easy, particularly if they are missing Gasol.
A two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, he averaged 18.5 points and 11.8 rebounds after signing with the Bulls in the offseason. At 34, he led the NBA with a career-high 54 double-doubles.
The Bulls fought through a long list of injuries to finish the regular season with 50 wins. But Gasol mostly stayed healthy, playing in 78 games.
Gibson, who made 17 starts, said his approach won't change much if he's in the lineup.
''My energy is going to be the same no matter what, be ready to go out there and play however many minutes I play,'' he said. ''Go out there, go hard, and understand that every game is intense. You have to bring it.''