Kidd provides positive outlook on Rose

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Kidd provides positive outlook on Rose

Being that it's Christmas Eve, most people are in a festive mood these days. Even Bulls fans, who started this season in gloom-and-doom mode, due to the absence of Derrick Rose and the team's shaky start, are now more optimistic with the new-look roster finding its stride and notching some impressive wins as of late.
When it comes to Rose's recovery, it seems like there's a new story about his progress every other day. But as secretive as the organization can be, the truth is that nobody but Rose and the medical staff truly can make any ballpark guess as to when he could return.
While it's encouraging that he's doing increasingly more drill work and starting to participate in walk-through sessions, in the grand scheme of things that doesn't mean much. Only he knows how his body feels and only trained medical professionals can accurately gauge his readiness to play again, no matter what Adrian Peterson's potential record-breaking NFL season or anything Ricky Rubio does makes us believe.
But if there's anything to be gleaned from the experiences of other, perhaps a better person than most to ask is future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd. Now playing off the ball for the Knicks, Kidd is one of the greatest playmakers in NBA history and, for those who didn't see him when he was young -- I'm talking about when he was a high school All-American, in college at Cal or during his early days as a pro in Dallas, even before making back-to-back Finals appearances with the Nets, let alone winning the 2011 title in his second stint with the Mavericks -- aside from being a great passer, Kidd was an explosive player with the ability to finish above the rim.
Maybe he wasn't an elite athlete like Rose, but his size and speed, coupled with his legendary court vision, gave him a dimension that opponents found extremely difficult to deal with. Like Rose, Kidd was destined for greatness very early in his career -- and reached his potential as one of the game's greatest point guards -- but they also share similarities in that neither was a great shooter early on (Kidd, now a solid long-distance threat, was often jokingly referred to as "Ason," because he had no "J") and both had serious knee injuries as young players, with Kidd having to have microfracture surgery, then regarded as a potentially career-ending procedure.
Prior to the Bulls' wild win over the Knicks in New York, I briefly caught up with Kidd as he finished his pregame shooting -- he doesn't talk in the locker room before games and given the circumstances of Friday evening, I didn't catch him in time afterwards -- and we discussed Rose's recovery."It's a lot of hard work, especially when you're talking about your knee. You've just got to be patient, but you've got to do all the little things to maintain that strength and I know Derrick is going to do that. From what I'm hearing, he's worked extremely hard. It takes time," Kidd told me. "Sometimes things happen for a reason and maybe now, he'll pay a little more attention to that jump shot. If he gets that, then he's pretty much unguardable because of his athletic ability and his knowledge of the game, so I think it's a good thing."My Christmas gift to you: Kidd's optimism about Derrick.
I hope everybody enjoys the holiday season, hopefully with their loved ones--I have a rare day off tomorrow and won't be at Omer Asik's return to Chicago, though I'll be back in action Wednesday at Indiana.

Bulls' Taj Gibson a late scratch with ankle injury vs. Mavericks

Bulls' Taj Gibson a late scratch with ankle injury vs. Mavericks

Just when you think the Bulls are back at full strength for one of the few times this season and able to hit the reset button halfway through the year, someone goes down with an injury.

Taj Gibson will miss Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks with a left ankle injury that he apparently suffered Sunday night in the Bulls’ win against Memphis.

This comes on the day Nikola Mirotic has recovered from his strep throat and apparently the flu bug that made its way through the locker room has finally run its course.

Paul Zipser, the Bulls’ rookie second-round pick, will start in Gibson’s place. Zipser has played in 12 games so far, starting in two of them.

"It's something that kind of popped up,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I don't know exactly the time. He did have a little bit of soreness in the game. Again, it's not to the point where you're saying this is something that holds him out a while.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Gibson did have ankle surgery on his left ankle in June 2015, but he’s been an iron man this year, starting every game to this point and averaging 12 points with 7.3 rebounds.

Hoiberg said he’s not sure if Gibson will need an MRI or if this injury is somehow related to the ankle surgery that cost Gibson several months in the 2015 offseason.

It seems Hoiberg will start off with Zipser and then use Mirotic and Bobby Portis as reserves against the Mavericks team that gave the Bulls a 25-point whipping in Dallas on Dec. 3, their second-worst loss of the year.

“Again, we hope to sit him tonight, have a couple days off to rest and get him back in the lineup in the next one,” Hoiberg said. “We felt it was best to hold him out tonight."

Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki: Growing up 'I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan'

Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki: Growing up 'I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan'

When Dirk Nowitzki was a young teenager growing up in Wurzburg, Germany, there were only a few NBA games on TV each week. And more times than not, in 1991 and 1992, the team seen most frequently was the Chicago Bulls.

It's why Nowitzki told reporters on Tuesday at the United Center that the Bulls were his favorite team as he grew up and learned to love basketball.

"I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan. If there was any franchise I would love to play for back then, it was the Bulls. Obviously Jordan, I was a huge (Scottie) Pippen fan. Pippen was actually my favorite for a long time. Just his versatility, his shooting, his defense, his rebounding, his playmaking.

"So I was a huge Pippen guy. and then later (Dennis) Rodman, (Toni) Kukoc. They had some great, great teams. and back in the day (Germany) only showed one, two games a week, and it was usually Chicago. So, great, great sports town, great history, and it's always fun to play here."

After a successful stint in Germany, playing for DJK Wurzburg from 1994 to 1998, Nowitzki was the 9th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. The Bucks traded his rights to the Mavericks, where Nowitzki has been ever since.

The future Hall of Famer's illustrious career has included an NBA title and Finals MVP in 2011, four selections to the All-NBA First Team, and he's sixth all-time in NBA in history in points. He needs just 307 more points to reach 30,000 for his career.

For what it's worth, the Bulls drafted 28th in that 1998 NBA Draft and selected Corey Benjamin.

Dirk and the Mavericks square off against the Bulls tonight at 7 p.m. on CSN+.