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Taj Gibson goes old school on the advice of Tom Thibodeau

Just in case people forgot how old school Tom Thibodeau is with certain aspects of gamesmanship, Monday was a great reminder.

It was after Saturday’s win over Phoenix that Taj Gibson revealed he had been playing with a ligament tear in his left hand for the last month, but was told by his coach to keep it quiet, especially since the reserve big man made the decision to play through it.

“Thibs told me understood I was playing through injury,’’ Gibson said. “I don’t have to point out I’m hurt. Just go out there and do my job. He told me just to get right over the [All-Star] break and focus on getting my mind and body right.’’

But it was more than just getting Gibson’s mind right for Thibodeau. It was protecting him from certain NBA teams that the coach feels would try and go after the injury.

“I believe in mental toughness,’’ Thibodeau said. “I don’t think you ever help your opponents. I know the mindset of certain teams. When they know something is ailing, they’re going after it. I just think it’s smart to keep that to yourself.’’

Thibodeau revealed something else on Monday, as well. Gibson was indeed told at the exit meetings last spring to prepare to be a starter for the 2014-15 season, knowing that Carlos Boozer was heading toward amnesty.

That story was reported by the Sun-Times, and then Gibson denied it because the Boozer move hadn’t been done yet and he didn’t want to make waves.

“Initially we were thinking at the end of last season that he would start and he was fine with that,’’ Thibodeau said when talking about Gibson and his frontcourt. “Then we added Pau [Gasol] and we asked [Gibson] to sacrifice.’’