Being a sports fan in Chicago, you have to accept the fact that at some point, the best player on the team – no matter the sport – is going to get hurt. It hasn’t always been that way, but lately, that’s certainly how it’s been. See the injuries to Derrick Rose, Brian Urlacher and Jay Cutler as evidence.
As it relates to the Bulls, injuries at the point guard spot – again – have ushered in a new era in Chicago: the Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague era. Kirk Hinrich, who has battled injuries through training camp and the preseason, strained his right hip against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. He’s listed as day-to-day.
We don’t know how long Hinrich will be out, but we do know that Robinson will be thrust into the role of starter at the point and Teague, for now, will be his backup.
"Whatever Coach needs me to do, I'll do," Robinson told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday. "I know Marquis and I will be ready and hope we hold it down until Kirk gets back and also (Derrick) Rose. I just try to get my teammates involved and give energy."
While we’ve seen what Nate Rob brings to the table and he’s earned the trust and confidence of Bulls fans, the unfortunate part of this latest injury scenario is that it begins with the Boston Celtics coming to town on Monday night along with their all-everything point guard, Rajon Rondo.
The Bulls will have their hands full trying to contain Rondo who leads the NBA in assists at 13.3 per game and is currently riding a wave of 30 consecutive games with at least 10 assists, the third-longest streak in league history. Fortunately for Chicago, in his last five games at the United Center, Rondo only registered 10 assists once.
Robinson is certainly capable of playing in the starting point guard role and is solid on the defensive end, but Teague is a different story altogether. Not expected to play much as a rookie, he’s now thrust into a situation where he’ll be relied upon and expected to contribute right away. The question is, is he ready?
Ultimately, the question is a rhetorical one with Teague. It doesn’t really matter if the rookie is ready or not, this is the reality. Thibs always preaches readiness down to the last man on the bench and if he puts you in the game, you’re expected to perform.