March 18, 2013
Despite Tom Thibodeau teasing everyone by saying Derrick Rose's return Friday night was "unlikely," that understates the case, reports Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com. Try "highly unlikely."
Oh, and the Bulls will not have Kirk Hinrich back either on Friday night against Golden State as he had a setback in his recovery from a stress fracture in his foot. The Warriors are the best team to be shorthanded in the backcourt against. But Hinrich is another issue for another day.
The news is not that Rose will not go Friday, nobody seriously was betting on that, but rather that Sam's source says Rose likely will be back from his ACL surgery in the next week or it could be next season.
While Rose is certainly progressing in his recovery, a source with knowledge of the situation explained to CSNChicago.com that although the injured superstar would be the one to give the initial go-ahead, it would take more than just him telling Thibodeau, "Put me in, Coach," to finalize the process.
"It's his decision, but it's a collective decision," the source said. "A lot of people have to sign off on him coming back…."
Also, because of the gravity of the situation, Rose would be seriously evaluated again before playing - the source did take issue with last week's report about Rose being cleared to play, as his participation in intra-squad scrimmages would indicate that he was already cleared to play, since the Bulls wouldn't risk him being hurt in practice and as the individual pointed out, "You can't get cleared twice" - meaning that next week's three-game, week-long home stand at the United Center could be the last opportunity for him to return this season, as the 24-year-old would have time to scrimmage at the Berto Center and be monitored for setbacks the day after.
The smart bet was always that he would return for a home game, which makes next week more likely.
The Bulls are caught in a situation where they would like to have Rose for the playoffs and enough games in there for him to develop a rhythm with the team (the Bulls have 18 games remaining heading into Friday). However, what would help most in getting this team ready for the playoffs is some rest for Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and the rest of the Bulls regulars. Thibodeau's style of play and heavy minutes for key guys just wears players down. We're seeing that with this Bulls slump - they are not healthy enough and lack the energy to play like this roster needs to if it is going to win.
Rose can change that dynamic some, but guys still need rest.
I guess we'll find out in the next week.