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Injuries really are catching up to us. Something just as disconcerting (but not really spoken about) is the rookie wall. Ben and Duhon haven't looked the same and Kirk, though a second year player, really looks gassed. With the small gap between the fourth and 10 seeds missing the playoffs is a very real possibility. Fortunately all the teams in those positions haven't exaxctly been lighting it up, but how devestating would it be if we end up losing our playoff spot in the final week of the season? Especially with no lotto pick to fall back on?

Three straight losses, six in nine games and enough injuries to make Fred Tedeschi's training room, not the Berto Center practice court Thursday, the center of the action could be cause for alarm.

In fact, coach Scott Skiles canceled practice because, unless he or general manager John Paxson suited up, five-on-five scrimmaging would have been impossible.

Still, it's time to take a deep breath and stop worrying, especially if that state cures strained hamstrings. Yes, the Bulls are banged up, but what team isn't at this time of year? The Eastern Conference teams currently seeded fifth through ninth—the Bulls are sixth—all are struggling.

Cleveland is 3-7 over its last 10 and has 10 of its remaining 20 games against teams with winning records.

The Pacers are 5-5 recently and may be without Jermaine O'Neal the rest of the way. They play San Antonio, the Lakers, Detroit and also Miami and Washington twice each in their final 19 games.

Philadelphia is 5-5 in its last 10, has struggled since the addition of Chris Webber, has Allen Iverson trying to play with a chipped bone in his thumb and has 13 of its 18 remaining games against winning teams.

Orlando has lost six straight and fired coach Johnny Davis early Thursday.

That should put the Bulls' blues in perspective.

The wild card, of course, is the injury situation.
KC's play on words hits it on the head.

Anything less than a playoff berth would feel hollow and hurt far more than a tweaked hamstring.
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