Rose still bothered by toe, weekend status unknown

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Rose still bothered by toe, weekend status unknown

All Tom Thibodeau wants for his birthday is a win.

If that happens, it will have to come without the benefit of having Derrick Rose, as the point guard will sit out Tuesdays game against the Suns at the United Center, the second consecutive contest hes been sidelined.

Hes not playing tonight, Thibodeau said before the game. It was a collective decision. We gathered the information, we looked at where we are in the schedule and we all decided its in the best interest of everyone to sit this one out.

Where he is with the injury, all that played into it.

Roses injury suffered last Tuesday in Minnesota, has been alternately described as a sprained left big toe and turf toe.

I was looking on some clarity on that myself. You can say its a sprain or turf toe. I guess theres some similarities between the two, but its sore and thats the bottom line, so we just want to make sure we take care of that. So, we just felt its best to have him sit this one out, explained Thibodeau. This ones more on the top of the toe, so thats what makes a difference. Hes got some swelling, so weve got to get that out.

Fortunately for Rose, after an off day Sunday following Saturdays home win over the Raptors, then missing Mondays loss in Memphis, hell have plenty of rest, as the Bulls dont play again until Friday at Cleveland.

Hes usually a pretty quick healer, so hell get his treatment, then we have a couple days off, so well see where he is after that, said Thibodeau, who will start C.J. Watson Watson himself just returned to the lineup Monday after spraining his left elbow in the New Years Day home opener in place of Rose. He usually responds pretty well to treatment.

You base your decisions on the information that you have at that particular time. He felt that he was feeling better. Weve played a number of games in a short amount of time, so we just want to be smart. A lot of guys are hurting right now. We dont want to take any chances, continued Thibodeau, who indicated that he had no regrets about playing Rose in back-to-back wins over Boston and Toronto. Hes fine. Hes going to do whats in the best interest of the team and thats where it is. He certainly has a lot of input in it, but we all have to weigh in. We talked to our doctors and to Bulls team trainer Fred Tedeschi.

I think that once hes healthy and thats something we talked to the medical staff first is what can he handle. Hes been through different injuries. Once the swellings out of there and the pain goes down, hell be fine.

While the Bulls will be missing the reigning league MVP, the other half of their starting backcourt will be back in the lineup Tuesday, as veteran shooting guard Rip Hamilton will start after missing eight consecutive games with a nagging groin injury.

Were going to see how he feels, Thibodeau said, prior to the decision. If he goes through his warmup and he feels OK, well give it a shot.

Thibodeau was pleased with the play of Watson in his return Monday, as the backup point guard logged 28 minutes, scored 17 points, sparked an aborted Bulls comeback and perhaps most importantly, played aggressively, with no hesitation

He said he felt pretty good. theres some soreness there, but thats normal and again, we were watching him during the game and the way he was driving the ball, and he went after some loose balls and stuff, so he got hit quite a bit. He said he felt pretty good today, so that was encouraging, said the coach about Watson. He did really well and its a tribute to his professionalism. He did a lot of conditioning when he was out and he was able to handle those minutes.

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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