Taj Gibson plays 31 seconds

WASHINGTON -- Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson was cleared to play Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards, but he didn't start in the Bulls' 87-80 win.

Gibson played only 31 seconds Wednesday night because Thibodeau was hesitant to put him back into the rotation with so little practice time since Saturday.

"That was a tricky one because he hasn't practiced in so long," Thibodeau said after the game. "I think going against [Bulls athletic trainer] Fred [Tedeschi] is a little bit different than going against an NBA player."

Even in the short amount of time he did play, Thibodeau was happy with Gibson's contribution.

"We needed him for the short period that he did go in," Thibodeau said. "But I didn't feel comfortable with him being out of so many practices to put him in. If the need was there, I was going to put him in again. And actually, I thought about it in the fourth quarter in the end."

Thibodeau said that Gibson's role is not in danger of being diminished, despite his paltry playing time Wednesday.

"I wanted to see him practice first so he's comfortable, too," Thibodeau said. "Normally, when a guy comes back from injury, not that he has to have a lot of practices, but I generally believe at least one. Hopefully, you could have more than one. At a minimum. But he's been out quite a while."

Gibson suffered a concussion Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, and he missed Tuesday's 121-75 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center.

"I feel way better," Gibson said before Wednesday's contest. "I'm just going to go out there and try and see what's up."

With Joakim Noah recovering from hand surgery, Kurt Thomas started for Gibson and had 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocks against the 76ers.

Gibson said he had "a lot" of headaches after the concussion on Saturday, but the headaches went away on Monday.

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.