NEW YORK – The Bulls will be without point guard Kirk Hinrich on Monday night against Brooklyn because of a bruised left calf. His absence might give Game 4 star Nate Robinson a chance to start in the potential clincher for Chicago.
Hinrich was hurt during Saturday's 142-134 triple-overtime victory, playing through the injury to finish with 18 points and a playoff career-high 14 assists in 60 minutes.
But he was wearing a walking boot Monday, walking with a noticeable limp.
"We've dealt with injuries all year," Hinrich said at the Bulls' morning shootaround. "Nate's been huge for us all year. He's had those type of games. He's been huge for us. We're confident in our guys."
Coach Tom Thibodeau didn't commit to a starter. With Derrick Rose still not back after tearing his ACL in last year's playoff opener, the only other true point guard option could be Marquis Teague, who has made just one appearance in the series.
He also could start Marco Belinelli and go without a traditional point guard.
"We have a few guys we can go to," Thibodeau said. "We're going to see how it unfolds."
Robinson rallied the Bulls from a 14-point deficit late in the fourth quarter Saturday, scoring 29 of his 34 points after the third quarter as Chicago took a 3-1 lead in the series.
But the Bulls will miss Hinrich's defense against Nets point guard Deron Williams.
"Guys have been filling (in) and they've got to be ready," Robinson said. "We need Marco to play big, Marquis to play big and guys subbing in for guys that go down, including myself. We have to be ready and continue to play."