Thibodeau: Rose speculation not linked to Bulls' recent slide
Tom Thibodeau refused to grant his team the excuse of the uncertainty surrounding Derrick Rose’s possible return from knee surgery as the cause to the Chicago Bulls’ recent struggles.
"Hey, we knew going in, we knew what the circumstances were going to be this year," Tom Thibodeau said of the speculation surrounding Derrick Rose’s return, after practice on Wednesday. "We had no idea, there was no timetable, there was no doubt where we were saying, 'OK, he's going to be back this date.' It's when he's ready, and we knew that going in.”
Derrick Rose’s timetable has switched back and forth this season. More recently, Derrick Rose expressed he was still “far away” from returning, although Tom Thibodeau played down any potentially impeding knee issues. Still to complicate to the situation and to add to controversy surrounding Derrick Rose’s recovery, the Chicago Bulls point guard’s brother and manager Reggie Rose indicated last week that the Bulls’ inactivity at the trade deadline could turn to be a “big factor” in his decision to return.
Derrick Rose is gradually becoming a fixture at team practices. However, Tom Thibodeau claimed that Derrick Rose’s presence didn’t serve as a distraction to the team, although he acknowledged it has been a bit if a challenge.
"Every day you're faced with different things that can distract you if you allow it to,” said Tom Thimbodeau. “So you have to guard against that constantly.”
The Chicago Bulls have dealt with several key injuries this season. Taj Gibson is expected to miss two weeks with a sprained left knee while Kirk Hinrich is also sidelined with elbow issues. But Tom Thibodeau didn’t hold it up as an excuse for his team failing to “get the job done” when the Chicago Bulls host the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday
“Sometimes it's injuries, sometimes it's schedule…whatever it might be. A lot of games on the road, back to backs, early start, late start, whatever it is and you got to guard against all that stuff,” said Tom Thibodeau. “We've shown that we're capable and obviously capable of playing better than we have been recently."
Tom Thibodeau added that Derrick Rose, who started participating in 5-on-5 drills soon after the All-Star break, has been “improving” recently. While the rehab took its physical and mental toll on Derrick Rose, Tom Thibodeau believed the forward “handled himself great” through the stretch.
"As I've said all along, we all have to understand the intensity of an NBA game is totally different than practice,” said Tom Thibodeau. “So he's preparing himself for that and he'll know when he's ready and we'll know he's ready. So we just got to be patient."