NEW YORK As Derrick Rose continues to recover from his torn ACL, every step he takes continues to be breathlessly monitored, regardless of how meaningful it is.
Asked whether the injured point guard, who accompanied the Bulls on their trip to New York, would begin to sit on the bench during games, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau responded, Well, he could.
Hes still locked into doing some rehab stuff, the coach continued, in a less than definitive fashion. Whether he sits on the bench or not, hes here with us. Hes doing practice, hes in the locker room. If he can get more done in the locker room as the games going on obviously watching the game but he also has the opportunity to do some extra stuff back there. Again, the main focus for him is the rehab and weve prioritized that.
This has been the normal plan right from the start. His whole focus is on his rehab and when hes ready to play or when he starts fully practicing, hell probably be more on the bench. But as long as he can get that extra work in, Id rather have him doing that.
Thibodeau seemed to indicate that Rose wouldnt be courtside in the near future, or at least not for Fridays game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden where a waitress serving New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently tripped San Antonios Stephen Jackson, leading to an ankle injury but its not because the Chicago native isnt mobile enough to avoid getting out of the way.
That part, hes fine. I just think its better right now for him to continue doing the things that hes been doing. Thats the most benefit to him, Thibodeau explained. In the past month, its been shifted more to, not only the rehab, but getting acclimated to the basketball stuff again. But thats also a big part of his rehab. So, hes doing both, hes doing well and at some point, hell rejoin us.
Thibodeau is more concerned with his team keeping its composure against the Knicks after the last meeting in New York, a technical foul-plagued affair including one on the Bulls coach turned a blowout win into a chaotic, close-knit contest toward the end.
Well, its an emotional game. I thought we played very well in that game, he explained. In the end, we didnt finish with the poise that we would have liked. But hopefully, we would have learned from that. You have to poise under pressure, but you have to play with the right amount of intensity and concentration to get the job done.
New York will have Carmelo Anthony, who was ejected in the December game, back in the lineup after the superstar served a one-game suspension during the Knicks Thursday-night loss in Indiana for confronting Bostons Kevin Garnett after a loss to the Celtics. Whether or not one believes the details of the on-court and postgame encounters between the two perennial All-Stars, the Bulls will have to contend with one of the NBAs top scorers Friday, not to mention a talented supporting cast.
Youre talking about one of the elite players in the league, so whether hes coming off suspension or a normal regular-season game, which is what it is, hes a great player, so a great player commands a lot of attention. We have to be ready for him, but you cant get so locked into just him that youre giving the others easy opportunities, Thibodeau explained. J.R. Smith, the way he can shoot the three. Jason Kidd, the way he plays, youve got to cover the roll to the rim, youve got to cover the three-point line. A kid like Chris Copeland, youve got to know what he does. Marcus Camby may or may not play. Pablo Prigioni is a very clever point guard. Ronnie Brewer, we know Ronnie because we had him and hes one of those guys youll never measure statistically, just does a lot of good things on the floor to help the team win.