ORLANDO -- Caution and concern have replaced the early optimism that characterized the Bulls' reaction to Eddy Curry's irregular heartbeat.
The Bulls released a statement Thursday saying results from tests performed over the last week had been inconclusive and Curry would undergo further evaluation by specialists in Boston and Minnesota.
His playing availability is uncertain, but team officials are preparing to go without Curry for the final eight regular-season games and possibly the playoffs.
General manager John Paxson said as recently as Tuesday that having Curry play limited minutes Friday night against the New York Knicks was possible. Through a team spokesman, Paxson declined to answer questions Thursday, but he did comment in the statement.
"I've said from the beginning that we were going to be extremely thorough in this matter, and that has not changed," Paxson said. "Eddy has been evaluated by the best doctors in the field and continues to do so.
"Our first priority is Eddy's health, and we are going to be absolutely certain we have all the answers we need before he returns to the court."
The court is where an interesting dynamic remains.
On the one hand, the Bulls are 10-1 in their last 11 games and sit in fourth place, good enough for home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs. On the other, each game seems to bring a new injury or problem to a team that continues to show mental fortitude.
Perhaps the hardest part is the Bulls are playing meaningful games in April and into May, and Curry, who has known only losing as a pro, is missing them. He committed himself to getting into good physical condition over the summer and played big in big games several times this season.
The payoff, however, might not be there. Curry, the Bulls' leading scorer, will miss his sixth straight game Friday night.
The original plan called for Curry to work out Tuesday and Wednesday at the Berto Center while wearing a monitor to track his heart's rhythm and electrical activity. Those plans were shelved as the team awaited results from a CT angiogram performed Monday to monitor blood flow.
Team officials weren't talking Thursday, but it is possible medical personnel didn't like the results from that test.
It's easy to understand why the Bulls are being cautious with a player in whom they expect to make a multimillion-dollar investment this summer.
"There's no question we miss Eddy," Skiles said. "I'm not trying to minimize that. But this doesn't change a whole lot how we do things. We're so late in the game now, we can't just all of a sudden leave the page and start trying to do things and make up for somebody's loss. We just have to play the other guys in his spot."
"The mental toughness of our guys really has been extraordinary this year, no doubt about it," Skiles said.