Pau Gasol eager to play for Bulls in Game Six against Cavs after missing two games
Chicago forward Pau Gasol, here battling Cleveland center Tristan Thompson, hopes to be in uniform to help the Bulls even the series. AP

CHICAGO — Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol plans to play in Game Six of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The five-time All-Star has missed the past two games because of a strained left hamstring. While coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn't say if he will play on Thursday (Friday, Manila time), Gasol later made it clear that he expects to be in uniform with Chicago down 3-2 and facing elimination at home.

"I'll be out there," Gasol said.

At what percentage?

"I don't know, but whatever percentage I will be, that's what I'll give," he said.

The Bulls went through a film session on Wednesday. Gasol did some running and was seen taking free throws and jumpers, although he wasn't getting much elevation. He said he has not attempted to jump.

On another note, Thibodeau said Derrick Rose was fine after aggravating a shoulder stinger he sustained in Game One.

Gasol has been receiving treatment and exercising his leg, which started to bother him in Game Two. He left Game Three after playing about 22 minutes.

The Bulls have shot just under 38 percent and dropped two in a row without him.

They lost Game Four on LeBron James' corner jumper at the buzzer to tie the series and fell by five on Tuesday after trimming a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to two.

"It's frustrating," Gasol said. "It's not easy. It's painful. It's hard. But things like this happen, sometimes at the worst times."

While the Bulls fought through one injury after another, Gasol stayed healthy during the regular season and enjoyed one of his best years after signing with Chicago in the summer.

A two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, he averaged 18.5 points and 11.8 rebounds. And at 34, he led the NBA with a career-high 54 double-doubles.

"Pau's definitely a big part of our success," Joakim Noah said. "He's a big part of this team."


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