Thibodeau reveals Rose's rehab process


Thibodeau reveals Rose's rehab process

Amidst his usual repertoire of injury updates and plaudits about the opposition in this case, a bit more heartfelt, given the opponent, his former employer Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau slipped in some cautious optimism.

Thibodeau, when updating the assembled media about injured superstar Derrick Roses status, acknowledged that he expects the former league MVP to be back in action this season.

I do, Thibodeau said prior to his teams loss to visiting Boston. Hes doing great. We have to be patient with it. Hes been very diligent. Hes in every day. Hes moving along. He started cutting. Hes been shooting for a while now. Hes feeling pretty good, so we just have to be patient.

Its the next step for him, so everything is going according to plan. Hes not ahead of schedule, hes not behind schedule. Hes exactly where he should be.

Previously, Thibodeau left it in the air as to Roses travel plans when the team is on the road. But with the Bulls leaving for their annual Circus Trip following Tuesdays practice at the Berto Center and Roses offseason residence of Los Angeles on the itinerary ironically, the Bulls visit Staples Center to play the Clippers, coached by Thibodeaus predecessor, Vinny Del Negro, Roses first NBA coach it makes sense that the player and team cross paths.

Were going to do what we think is best for both the team and Derrick, so for this trip, I like him being in one place, Thibodeau explained. He might meet us out in L.A., but for him, the rehab has to be the priority, so thats what I want him to focus in on. For us, its a long trip and were going to be jumping around, so hell be on the trip for part of it. Hell meet us out in L.A.

Aside from his rehabilitation and the responsibilities of new fatherhood, as evidenced by photos he posted on his Twitter account during Roses time away from basketball, the Chicago native has been reading books on leadership and topics like the first African-American surgeon, according to a person familiar with his activities. Additionally, when visiting teams come into town, hes been a constant presence behind the scenes running wind sprints prior to the Bulls game against Oklahoma City, led by his close friend and usual summer workout partner, Russell Westbrook, as well as talking to fellow sidelined star Ricky Rubio and motivating his point-guard counterpart not to mention shooting pregame jumpers on the United Center court, as well as his daily workouts at the Berto Center.

Hes in every day, so they see how hard hes working at his rehab. Hes around his teammates, but we cant use that as a crutch. You cant replace a guy like Derrick individually. Your only chance is if youre doing it collectively, so we need everybody else to focus in on knowing what their job is, doing their job and doing it as a team, Thibodeau said. For us, thats our only chance and whether Derricks there or not, the approach and our attitude, that shouldnt change and the focus has to be on our improvement, and thats where we want it to be.

Together again: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane reunite on top line vs. Devils

Together again: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane reunite on top line vs. Devils

When coach Joel Quenneville has put Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together it’s usually been during the postseason.

It’s rare when it happens in the regular season and when it does, it seems like an in-case-of-emergency move. But in this case, it may be more of a get-the-captain’s-production-going move.

The Blackhawks made a few more line changes on Thursday, including combining Toews and Kane, as they prepared for Friday night’s game at the New Jersey Devils. Marian Hossa moved to right wing on the second line with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. Marcus Kruger and Nick Schmaltz flip-flopped as third- and fourth-line centers. Tyler Motte and Ryan Hartman were the third-line wings while Dennis Rasmussen and Jordin Tootoo were on the fourth line.

Coach Joel Quenneville said the line changes, including Kane’s move to the first line, were because the Blackhawks continue to look for balance. To a point, that’s true; the Blackhawks still haven’t come close to getting that four-line rotation with which they’ve found so much success. But considering how successful the Toews and Kane combination has been for each, you’d have to think it’s to help bolster Toews’ point totals. Toews has just two assists through the first seven games.

“Right now I think Jonny, his production isn’t where you look at his play – we still always like the way he plays, he’s so useful in so any different ways,” Quenneville said. “I think maybe we get more balance on both lines. We’ve been trying a number of different looks in our top two groups there. over seven games we still need to be better in a lot of ways. hopefully we can find it.”

Still, if you can get your top players producing points, it’s worth a try. And Kane and Toews, regardless of how long they’ve been apart, usually click immediately upon reuniting.

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“Yeah, I guess change can be good in this sense. We can probably produce a little bit more offense and have the puck a little bit more throughout the game,” Kane said. “I’ve played with Jonny a bunch before. Obviously, not as much lately. But I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a fun way to play hockey. Obviously he’s one of the best players in the game, and probably in my mind, the easiest player to play with. It’ll be fun to get back out there with him and try to create something, try to produce and have some fun with it.”

As for that usual second line of Panarin, Anisimov and Kane, remember: as we’ve seen before, it can be put together again fast.

“They get a lot of shifts and a lot of looks. It’s not like we’re too far away from going back to it at any time. It’s always close and available,” Quenneville said. “Maybe we get more balance and a little more scoring across the board.”


- Defenseman Gustav Forsling (upper body) did not skate on Thursday and will not travel to New Jersey. Quenneville is still hoping Forsling can play on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Kings.

- Forward Andrew Desjardins (lower body) continues to improve. Quenneville said Desjardins could be skating in the next day or so.

- Corey Crawford will start vs. the Devils.

Illini announce athletics hall of fame with Dick Butkus as first member


Illini announce athletics hall of fame with Dick Butkus as first member

Illinois announced Thursday the establishment of a university athletics hall of fame, and who better than Dick Butkus to be the first inductee?

According to the announcement, Illinois has discussed creating an athletics hall of fame to honor past student-athletes for years, but this is the first time it's been acted upon — not necessarily a surprise now that Josh Whitman, a former Illinois football player, is now in charge of the department.

"The University of Illinois has an incredible and storied history in athletics," Whitman said in the announcement. "Legendary names in sports history are found throughout the Illini record books, and we are excited to honor them in our new Hall of Fame. Since the athletic program's inception in 1890, some of the world's greatest athletes have competed in the orange and blue. Ultimately, as we begin to populate the Hall of Fame, our collection of recognized greats will compare favorably with that of any institution in the nation."

Butkus, of course, is the obvious choice to be the first announced member of the hall of fame's inaugural class.

Regarded by many as the best linebacker and defensive football player ever, Butkus spent three seasons in Champaign, twice a unanimous All-American selection. Playing both center and linebacker at Illinois, he finished in the top six in Heisman Trophy voting in 1963 and 1964, a shocking accomplishment for someone playing a position other than quarterback, running back or receiver.

Butkus made 374 tackles in three seasons and is one of just two players — the other being Red Grange — to have his number retired at Illinois. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (thanks to his remarkable career with the Bears), and the annual award for the best linebacker in college football is named after Butkus.

"The University of Illinois has played an extremely important role in my life," Butkus said in the announcement. "I have many life-long relationships that began at the U of I and have always been proud to call myself a Fighting Illini. To be recognized in the inaugural class of the Athletics Hall of Fame is a terrific feeling. I'm very proud of what my teams and I accomplished, including the 1963 Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl victory. Thank you for this honor."

The Illini will announce the entire inaugural class in February, with induction coming next September.