Rose takes contact, isn't held back in practice

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Rose takes contact, isn't held back in practice

With an eye toward returning in Thursdays home game against the Celtics, Derrick Rose has ramped up the rehabilitation process for his strained right groin. The All-Star point guard was a full participant in Wednesday afternoons practice at the Berto Center, taking contact for the first time since the injury, which occurred 11 games prior.

I really dont know. I felt good, but me playing tomorrow, I dont know. Im able to run a little bit more, but not at my top speed, said Rose after practice. I really cant explain, unless youve had the injury.

I definitely feel better. Im running, able to move a little bit more, so Im getting healthy, he continued. Ive taken three weeks off or two weeks off, however many Ive taken off my conditioning is definitely a worry, but in basketball, you should be able to fight through it.

Its my first time ever having this injury. Usually people, after they have it, they usually dont have it anymore, but my biggest thing is coming back too quick and re-injuring it again.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Rose has been increasingly active in past days and while he looked good shooting the ball in a voluntary workout session Tuesday, but while he looked OK in Wednesdays practice, he was tentative and not in playing shape, things that should be expected after such a long absence. Still, just having Rose back in practice was a positive for the Bulls, coming off their first two-game losing streak of the season.

It was a good day at practice. Everyone went, so thats good, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who noted that Rose went through everything Wednesday. It was good because coming off a day off, we had the opportunity to do a lot of stuff.

You know, Im an optimist. I always believe it could happen. Thats the way I think. I get around you guys, then I think it wont happen, continued a sarcastic Thibodeau quipped when asked about Roses status for Thursdays game. Well see how he feels tomorrow. His speed and quickness looked very good, so I thought it was very encouraging.

Rip Hamilton, Roses backcourt partner who just returned from a long absence due to injury himself, was similarly optimistic about how Rose appeared Wednesday.

On Derricks bad days, hes still a 10 in terms of explosiveness, on a scale of 1-10. He possesses all the attributes, so when hes 100 percent, hes way over 10. Him not full speed is still faster than probably 98 percent of the league, he said. The first time in a long time to have everybody practicing in a long time. Its a good thing that we were all on the floor at the same time.

With this season, its hard to do a whole lot of scrimmaging. It was the same thing for me when I came back. I didnt get an opportunity to scrimmage, so the first five-on-five was in a game, so we just try to stay conditioned, take little bumps during practice.

Hamilton believes the Bulls will be much improved with their full cast on hand after Rose returns to the lineup.

I definitely think so. Guys have done a great job stepping in and doing what theyve been doing Ronnie, Kyle, C.J., John those guys have been excellent the whole season. I think when we come back, everybody gets their rhythm, everybody gets back into their comfort zone, what theyre used to doing, well be great, the veteran explained. He does so many great things on the floor that can get me so many wide-open baskets. I think in the past and pretty much my whole career, just working so hard, my team looked at me to lead the team in scoring every game and now Im in a situation where I can just get to spots. Derricks going to create, Derricks going to make plays to make my job a lot easier, so I can get a lot of easy wide-open shots.

Thibodeau tacitly admitted that the dual absences of Rose and Hamilton have put additional pressure on Bulls reserves, such as C.J. Watson, who has endured both significant and nagging injuries throughout the season himself.

One of C.J.s strengths is the way he shoots the ball. Hes played through some nicks, hes banged up a little bit, but hes got a lot of mental toughness and hes done a great job going in for Derrick or when Derricks been out. Overall, C.J.s had a terrific year for us, he said. I think this time of the year, you have to strike that balance of the rest and playing. We also want him to be in rhythm down the road, so I think just step by step. The way the schedule is this month, if we need to sit him out of some practices, well probably do thatgive him an opportunity to rest therebut hes done a good job overall for us. Hes had a great year.

Meanwhile, Thibodeau praised Roses positive outlook during a trying time.

Hes been patient. Hes done a great job with his rehab. Each day, hes done more and more. Hes feeling better and better, and so, well see how he feels tomorrow. He did quite a bit yesterday and he did more today, so its very encouraging, but well see where he is tomorrow, he said. Hes approached it great. His attitude has been great. Fred Tedeschi, our trainer, and Bulls assistant trainer Jeff Tanaka have done a great job with him. Our medical staff, theyve taken him through it step by step. Hes been diligent with the rehab, twice a day. I think he knows what he is. Hell be fine.

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

For the opening three quarters in Atlanta, the Bulls were off. 

So off, in fact, that Dwyane Wade tweeted an apology to Chicago fans after the game. 

Thanks to a furious run by the Bulls' bench, the final score ended at a respectable 102-93. In reality, though, the Hawks dominated. 

Wade and company trailed by 29 points at half and 30 at the end of three. The 35-year-old shooting guard finished with a minus-18 and just four points while All-Star starter Jimmy Butler posted a team-low minus-22.

The Bulls will look to shake off their lopsided loss against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. 

 

Fred Hoiberg after Bulls' embarrassing loss to Hawks: 'We're gonna look at everything'

Fred Hoiberg after Bulls' embarrassing loss to Hawks: 'We're gonna look at everything'

The bus was warm before the game started, as the Bulls looked like they wanted no parts of the Atlanta Hawks.

It was evident from the jump that playing with a full and healthy squad for one of the few times this season wasn't enough to arouse their competitive juices, as they put together arguably their worst 48-minute showing in a 102-93 loss at Philips Arena, dropping them to 21-23 in a game they trailed by as many as 34 points.

The practices have apparently been the sterling jewel of effort and competitiveness for the Bulls but it hasn't carried over through the season as the inconsistency continues to be maddening — one that seems to go beyond the "growing pains" mantra that's been fed by all involved so far this year.

"It could be things but I don't want to share it with the media," a sunglasses-clad Dwyane Wade said outside the locker room, in a rare mood of not being elaborative following a loss.

It appears even the professional's professional has gotten a bit more frustrated than usual — understandable considering the way the starters came out with a lack of energy, with more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six) in the first quarter.

"Continue to try to lead behind the scenes," Wade said. "Can't stop when it's bad, when it's good. You gotta be the same."

Fred Hoiberg, fed up with the starters, ran with the reserves for the fourth quarter and outscored the Hawks by nearly 25 points, bringing the lead to 95-90 with a minute left before a Dennis Schroeder jumper restored order with 52.6 seconds left.

Four Hawks scored in double figures led by Schroeder's 25 points and six assists and Paul Millsap scoring 14 while making all four of his shots in just 22 minutes of run.

[MORE BULLS: Dwyane Wade not buying into the Bosh to Bulls speculation]

Perhaps it's the Hawks being the same kryptonite to the Bulls that the Bulls are to the Toronto Raptors — except the Bulls simply frustrate the Raptors, not embarrass them.

"I have been, we have been, tired of this. I gotta come out better," said Jimmy Butler, who led the Bulls with 19 points in 29 minutes. "I gotta play better from the jump, 48 minutes. That's not the way we're supposed to play. 

"The way we practice is not the way we play in the game. Don't ask me why, I don't know. Starting with me and going down the line, we gotta be better as a whole. Otherwise we'll keep getting our asses beat and it's bad."

The Hawks shot over 60 percent for most of the night until the game devolved into what amounted to a pickup game late. After all, the Hawks seemed to be battling boredom by half, leading 65-36 and shooting 68 percent from the field and hitting 67 percent from three.

"We're gonna look at everything and we'll see how we go out and start tomorrow and a couple days after that, hopefully we figure some things out," Hoiberg said. "They shot over 70 percent in the first quarter and you dig yourselves a hole and it's impossible to get out."

Hoiberg said he would evaluate everything leading into Saturday's game at home against the Sacramento Kings, but Friday didn't seem to present any realistic lineup changes based on performance.

Bobby Portis scored 10 with seven rebounds off the bench, with Jerian Grant scoring 12 and Paul Zipser 10. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic combined to shoot two for nine, so one wonders where Hoiberg can go.

"I don't know. Practice is good. Practice is great," Butler said. "Practice is not gonna win you games. We gotta take what we do in practice and take it over to the game."

The Bulls weren't about to make it any more suspenseful than it had to be, as they started off missing their first 11 3-pointers, often missing multiple open looks on the same possession.

It wasn't relegated to just shooting as the Bulls squandered easy opportunities in easy situations, like Denzel Valentine turning a three-on-one fast break into an airballed finger-roll attempt that he caught himself — a violation, of course.

"I don't know, I can't put a word on it. Because it's just talk," Butler said. "Doesn't matter what you say, if we don't go out there and do it, what the hell is talking gonna do? We've been up and down all year. If we don't guard and turn the ball over, games get out of hand very quickly."

This one was over a few minutes into it, as the Bulls looked like a lifeless squad with no direction and very little fight, short of a minor dustup between Dwight Howard and Robin Lopez in the third quarter.

At that point, though, all Howard had to do is point at the scoreboard, where a 30-point lead did all the necessary talking.

The Bulls trailed by 20 even before Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 35-footer to end the first quarter, sending the Hawks off on a high and seemingly demoralizing the Bulls.

Even Butler's 19-point night, hitting six of his eight shots in 29 minutes, rang hollow. The Bulls could've trotted out a D-League team for the second half to gear up for Saturday's game against Sacramento and been better off than how they performed Friday night.

And for the Bulls, they can't simply just go back to the drawing board. There looks to be something fundamentally wrong with this bunch — either that, or the Atlanta night got the best of them Thursday.