Hinrich injures groin, press the panic button?

The Bulls played their starters regular minutes in last night's preseason game and came away with a narrow victory over a Thunder team that sat Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The bad news for the Bulls is that they look like a team that's only somewhat better than the Thunder without their two best players. The worse news is that Kirk Hinrich tweaked his groin.

Thumb resting on panic button

Normally, I'm a wait and see guy with these types of things. There's little reason to jump to conclusions, and Hinrich may be perfectly fine. The Bulls, fortunately, still have a full week prior to the tip off of regular season for Kirk to rest up and get better, so a light pull may not cost Kirk any time and a moderate one only a couple weeks.

However, the post-game press conference revealed two things that gave me pause. First, Kirk was not available for the media to talk to. Maybe he simply didn't want to answer a dozen "how's your groin" questions, but if the answer was "it was no big deal, I could have gone back in if it were the regular season" then he probably wouldn't have minded.

Thibodeau also didn't dismiss the injury as minor, but simply said if Kirk needs time he'll get it, if not he'll play next game. The Bulls clearly didn't appear to treat this like a "nothing" injury, which implies a "something" injury.

Groin pulls also have a tendency to linger and without full rest can recur easily. Bulls fans are all too familiar with that problem after watching Hamilton never really get over one last season.

Moreover, regardless of the severity of the injury the fact that Kirk Hinrich getting hurt evokes a "oh my god we're screwed" thought process shows what thin ice this season rests on. No team should be so reliant on a sub MLE player.

Starters played well I guess

The starters had a nice game, but we're largely playing our best against the Thunders B team, so I'm not sure how excited to get about that. It was nice to see the unit play with good chemistry and to see some life out of Boozer. Joakim Noah looks ready to go this season, and Luol Deng looks as steady as usual.

However, things took a step back with Hinrich off the floor, and if his injury extends into the regular season it won't be pretty.

Bench barely played, but it wasn't pretty

Jimmy Butler showed some life and hustle in his 11 minutes, but the rest of the bench struggled going 3-16 with Nate Robinson hitting all three of the makes but using up 10 shots to do so.

This game played out closer to a regular season game in terms of minutes and player usage, and what we see right now is that the present bench isn't going to come in and extend leads or lead comebacks. They're going to get shelled. That might change when Rose comes back and Hinrich gets pushed to the bench to lead them, but right now it's not pretty.

The weaker bench combined with a starting lineup that no longer evokes much fear and has no true shot creators means the Bulls have fallen from the elite to the middle class at best. We'll just have to hope the fall isn't greater than that and when Rose comes back there'll be enough time to rebuild chemistry and do some damage in the playoffs.


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  • Shock? Dismay? Coincidence? Phssst! This could have been written the day they signed him. I refuse to see this as bad news. It's like a wound that can't heal till thorn is plucked. See, Hinie isn't stupid, just stacking dollars for retirement. Now the healing for the Bulls can begin.

  • I'm not feeling good about this season at least not now obviously with our very thin guard committe. Sure would be nice if the Kings would gift us a guard or 2 as they don't have enough minutes in a game to make their guard rotation happy. They are playing Evans a ROY PG at SF! Don't know who we would/could trade but when/if Rose comes back in February and is ready to go and Hiny leads the reserves it could be ok.
    Time to get the NBA league pass, OKC will be fun to watch this year!
    If the Kings had a better coach and some more veteran leadership they should be fun to watch with all their young athletic team! Even James Johnson (MMA fighter) is over there now and will probably be their starting SF!

  • I felt the Bulls were foolish to pass up on etwaun moore, a combo guard that can play the 1-2 and shoot some 3s and plays good D. He's been doing great with the Magic in preseason. Who else are they going to get for cheap? johnny flynn perhaps, well just have to wait and see.

    I disagree with the idea that Butler is playing poorly, he brings alot of energy, hustle, plays tough D and is not afraid to attack the rim unlike some other players we had in the past. Loved the way he bodied up James Harden who struggled throughout the night shooting. His jumpshot is bad but other parts of his game is solid. Marco Belinelli is the one that is horrible, the guy doesn't even run hard around the screens and is now passing up shots for fear of missing them. They should of gone for Carlos Delfino, a solid two way player but he wanted 3 million instead of the near minimum deals the Bulls were offering.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I wanted the Bulls to grab Moore too, especially after the display he put on in the Summer League.

    You want to know who else is putting on a good show in the preseason? John Lucas III...that's right.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Not sure Moore can really play PG at all.

    The problem with the Bulls situation now is they're hard capped. They can't even get anyone cheap until late November, and if they get someone then they'll have no flexibility to get anyone else later.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I was all for going after Del Fino also, but he is much more if not exclusively a small forward, so I am not sure how much he could have helped or how he was going to get any minutes.

  • Dammit, this was exactly why I hated the Hinrich signing. The Bulls brought back a guy who has been hurt the past two years to be the primary point guard until Rose returns and, surprise, he can't even get out of the pre-season. They should have looked for someone younger and more dependable. What good is a sub who gets hurt when you need him?

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Injuries happen, and the one thing you could say about Hinrich's injuries is that they weren't the type that likely cause more injuries.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Or, it actually is a minor tweak, and he sat out half of a relatively meaningless preseason game so it doesn't become on ongoing issue? After all, there wasn't a particularly noticeable point of injury, and he did finish the half on it looking OK. I guess it's time to add Kirk to the "can't win" list - it's stupid if he plays on a tight or tweaked groin in a preseason game, but if he doesn't he's old and injury prone.

  • And I have to take another shot at Marco Belinelli. He looks out of shape and plays lazy. He doesn't run through screens hard, can't catch and shoot and shows no interest in guarding anybody. Great signing Forman. Maybe if you spent less time at The Arboretum golf course you may have been able to sign better players.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Thibs wants him to do what Korver did (run off screens and shoot), but Belinelli isn't that kind of player.

    Everybody is right in saying 'he can handle the ball more', but Thibs doesn't want him to do that.

  • Why is everyone acting like this is even an issue. The Bulls weren't going anywhere this season anyways. Just bide your time with league pass like someone above said and be done with it. Let Rose stay on the bench till garbage games are in effect at the end of the season just so he can get some real game situational practice. Until then... see you next year boy's.

    P.S. how do any of you expect the bulls to make any moves with their salary structure as it currently exists. Please be real about your desires.

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