Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson is hoping to be fully fit by the time the new NBA season gets underway at the end of next month.
Gibson underwent ankle surgery in June to repair a torn ligament suffered last season. The 30-year-old was scheduled to be out of action for four months after undergoing surgery, which means that he should make a full recovery by mid-October.
Gibson is still working through his rehabilitation programme, but has started running, cutting and doing one-on-one drills.
"I’m going to try to go as hard as I can," he told reporters. "I’ve been feeling great. But Coach Fred and everybody just wants me to take it slow. They told me to keep working. They understand how hard I’ve been working on my rehab and staying in tune with the team and coaching staff."
Meanwhile, Gibson revealed that he had no idea he was playing with a torn ligament throughout the playoffs.
"We didn’t know it was a torn ligament. It was on the completely opposite side of the foot," he said. "When he finally went in during surgery, he was astounded how I was able to still play. He said he never knew anybody who could play through so much pain. I just thought it was normal. He was surprised I was even able to run or lift off it. That’s how bad it was.
"I didn’t know I could play with that much pain but I just tried to help my team win. I think it was a good thing for me to do the surgery. I’ve never been hurt this much. It was good for my career and for myself."