Thibodeau: It's important to recharge, getting away for a few days will be good
BOSTON—Celtics head coach Doc Rivers can relate to his former assistant, Bulls counterpart Tom Thibodeau.
Not that the two didn’t have anything in common before--they went out for their usual dinner the night before Wednesday's game, though Rivers claims they didn't discuss injuries, perhaps because he was hoping that reserve guard Leandro Barbosa, who it was announced today is out for the season, hadn't torn his ACL--but now that Boston’s floor general and face of the franchise, Rajon Rondo, is out for the season with an ACL injury, the coaches probably have a bit more empathy for each other.
But while Thibodeau’s approach to Rose’s recovery has been practicing patience—and encouraging the media to do the same—Rivers chose a different tact, pushing Rondo, who reportedly stated that he’ll try to be the NBA’s version of Adrian Peterson, in terms of his rehabilitation efforts.
“I want him to rush it. I want him to be exactly like Adrian Peterson. That doesn’t mean you’re going to make it back, but I think it’s a good thing, a good goal to have. I think Adrian Peterson has probably messed everyone’s minds up. Everyone thinks you’re going to come back and be Adrian Peterson. First of all, it’s a different game and I know football, there’s hitting and cutting, but you’re running on a hardwood floor and every step you make is a cut in basketball, so I think you have to be very careful in that,” he said. “I think in basketball guys come back, but I think it takes a little longer to feel comfortable. But I do think guys are far advanced. I’ve seen Rose run up and down the floor, but I just think it’s different and I think you have to be very careful.”
Rivers, a longtime NBA player before starting his coaching career, tore a knee ligament back in 1993, so he can also relate to the perspective of players.
“Well, for me, it was mental, but the physical part, I always looked at it when I did the rehab, was what it was. The only way you’re going to come back is to go through physical pain, but the mental part, for me, was hard and I didn’t anticipate that,” said the native of Maywood, Ill. “I remember [former Knicks head coach Pat] Riley bringing me in and showing me clips of me landing when I first came back. I was landing on one leg. I wouldn’t land on both feet because that’s how I got injured. I didn’t know I was doing that. That was subconscious.”
Rivers also pondered why so many NBA guards, besides just Rose and Rondo, have torn their ACL over the past year.
“That’s a good question. I don’t know that. We do more cutting. We also are off our feet more. Stockton, who missed what, one game, I remember talking to him after his career and I told him, ‘Man you had one hell of a career without getting injured,’ and he was a physical player, and he said, ‘I made a conscious choice not to leave my feet.’ He said his rookie year, he sprained his ankle because he tried to jump high. He said, ‘I made a conscious effort from that point on of wanting to play below the rim. I wanted to be a horizontal player instead of a vertical player.’ I think a lot of those guys who are getting injured are explosive jumpers, but it’s definitely more guards and I don’t know why,” he said. “There’s all [kinds of] theories about that. The strength and conditioning and all that, your body can only have so much weight. I don’t know the reason. I really don’t, but it’s something that needs to be discussed amongst the teams and find out if we’re doing something wrong.”
Rose’s teammates don’t want him to rush
Luol Deng hasn’t suffered a torn ACL, but the All-Star did undergo a stress fracture in his tibia back in 2009, an injury that fell under much public scrutiny.
Therefore, the All-Star can related to Rose’s situation.
“We’ve just got to let him decide. I think he knows his body better than anybody. I think everyone wants to see him back and sometimes when you do that, you’ve got to think of the positives and the negatives, where we’re at as a team, how he’s feeling,” he explained. “But for me, as somebody who’s been through injuries—obviously not an ACL—with my tibia, I felt like you’ve got to really make a decision for yourself and how you feel, not so much what everyone’s pressuring you and what everyone is saying.”
Fellow All-Star Joakim Noah’s answer was simple when he was queried about whether he’s pondered the possibility of Rose not coming back this season.
“No,” he said. “I think he’ll be back when he’s ready, whenever that is.”
Teague impresses in high-pressure situation
Rookie point guard Marquis Teague’s statistical impact Wednesday night was minimal—he scored five points on 2-for-6 shooting and handed out three assists—but his presence in the second quarter helped the Bulls stay afloat when they were truly struggling.
The 19-year-old pushed the tempo, got into the lane and set up his teammates for easy opportunities in his first extended action in months.
“I felt good. I was just trying to make plays to the rim or make plays for one of my teammates, just trying to take care of the ball,” he told CSNChicago.com. “I was just playing aggressive. They told me to be aggressive, look to the rim first before I do anything, so I was just being aggressive and I was able to get to the rim.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau liked what he saw from the youngster.
“Some good and bad. I thought he played very well in the first half. I thought he had an excellent second quarter, sort of got us back into it,” he said. “We were in a pretty good hole, so I thought he handled the pressure well. I liked what he did.”
Thibodeau downplays effects of trade deadline
When Thibodeau was asked whether trade rumors—most notably involving Carlos Boozer, though nothing specific was cited—could be a reason for the Bulls’ inconsistency as of late, the coach scoffed.
“In this league, I think you can find an excuse every night and it is the time of the year—and you guys [the media] start manufacturing things, see what sticks; for every 100 that gets talked about, one gets done—but whether it’s the holiday season, trade deadline, four in five, early start, late start, whatever it might be, you’ve got to be ready to play,” he said.
Rivers shares Jordan memory
With the 50th birthday of Michael Jordan approaching Sunday, Rivers talked about one of his favorite memories—or nightmare—of Jordan during their shared playing days.
“I have a lot of nightmares, some good ones: I remember his sister singing the national anthem and Starks laughing, and then I had to go guard him. That wasn’t very nice of John Starks,” he recounted, recalling the Knicks-Bulls rivalry. “The thing that I love about him or remember the most about him was a halftime speech at the All-Star Game. I think Barkley was laughing, a couple guys were joking around and he basically informed us that we were going to win the game and whoever didn’t feel like playing that way should not play in the second half and I actually liked that. I wish they all were like that, All-Star Games.”