Rip Hamilton could return to Bulls lineup Friday

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Bulls fans are not going to believe it until they see him and his mask walk out on the court — and even then they may not be sure.

But Richard Hamilton could return to the Bulls lineup Friday night.

The Bulls are being their usually overly-cautious selves regarding discussing injuries, but here is what the Detroit News wrote on the issue leading up to the Bulls Friday night tilt against the Pistons.

The former Pistons and current Bulls guard, who has played in just 16 games this season because of various injuries (groin, thigh, shoulder), is on track to return tonight against the Pistons….

“He wants to be a part of it so he can be ready for a deep playoff run,” said Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, who added he and Hamilton text frequently. “To not be able to do that, it has to be pretty tough because (Hamilton) doesn’t know how his body is going to respond in the playoffs.”

Hamilton has missed the last dozen games with a shoulder injury.

The Bulls are title contenders but if they are going to get past the Heat and whoever comes out of the West (cough*Thunder*cough) they are going to need Hamilton. Last year showed the limitations of the Bulls offense when it is overly dependent on Derrick Rose, they need another reliable perimeter scoring option and Hamilton can still be that if healthy.

But they need him to not only get back into the lineup soon they need him to stay healthy. The first part of that could start Friday night. The second part… that’s going to be more interesting.