In addition to Derrick Rose's season-long absence, the Chicago Bulls are dealing with several other key injuries.
They, however, know that's no excuse for their recent lackluster play.
Hoping to avoid its first three-game skid in four months, Chicago tries for a fifth straight win over a slumping Utah Jazz team that is hoping to have Al Jefferson back Friday night at the United Center.
While the Bulls (34-27) concluded January with a 1 1/2-game lead over Indiana in the Central Division, they've since dropped 10 of 16 to fall four games behind the Pacers. Kirk Hinrich has missed 12 of those contests, including the last two due to a foot injury. Taj Gibson (sprained MCL) has sat out the last five and Richard Hamilton (back) the last four. Rose, meanwhile, is listed as day-to-day but doesn't appear ready to return from a torn ACL.
Gibson is roughly a week away from getting back on the court. Hinrich and Hamilton are uncertain to suit up Friday.
"Our main focus...