DEERFIELD, ILL. — And now, your daily Derrick Rose injury update.
“Derrick did everything. Nothing’s changed,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said after Wednesday afternoon’s practice at the Berto Center. “It’s all day-to-day.”
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Besides the obvious, Thibodeau actually addressed how Rose is progressing on the basketball court as he continues to recover from knee surgery.
“He’s had some very good practices. He keeps getting better. The big thing about his game is he makes everything easier for everyone else. He commands so much attention and he knows how to create easy scoring opportunities for everybody and that’s the mark of a superstar -- the ability to make others better, and he does that on both ends,” the coach explained. “He’s put a lot of work in. He’s put so much work into his shot. I think he feels a big part of shooting is confidence and concentration. He’s had an opportunity to do both of those things for an extended amount of time now, so he’s feeling very good about his shot. He’s mixing his game up extremely well right now. He’s got the shot and the drive going, so it’s good. But that’s also who he is.
"I think each year when you look at his game, he’s never satisfied and that’s what makes him so special. It’s not only all the talent that he has, but it’s also the drive. He continues to get better throughout his career.”
Those descriptions, especially coming from Thibodeau, might indicate to some that Rose’s return is imminent. However, a familiar refrain was also part of the defensive strategist’s comments Wednesday: “Whenever he’s ready.
“He’s got to feel good for a while. That’s the most important thing that when he finally gets onto the floor, we want him to be comfortable. Whatever the circumstances are, I think that you have to make the best of those circumstances and if it’s limited minutes, that’s fine, too. We’ll see. I don’t want to jump ahead. I just want him to keep making the progress that he’s making," Thibodeau continued.
"He feels a little bit better each day and that’s the most important thing. Really, in many ways, nothing has changed from the standpoint of our players have to continue to focus on daily improvement and I think the big thing this time of the season, too, is it’s the grind of the season and you’re fighting mental fatigue, as well as physical fatigue and that’s what we’ve got to clean up, so that we can continue to improve and be playing our best down the stretch."
Taj Gibson, who is also currently sidelined, has a unique vantage point, as he has to do many of the same activities as his fellow injured teammate, although his sprained MCL is a much more short-term ailment than Rose’s and hasn’t required surgery.
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“I think he’s doing a great job. He’s just staying the course. That’s the one thing I see. I see progression and every day, he lifts. Since I’ve been hurt, I’ve been mostly just doing the same drills he does, so seeing him progress, seeing him get back to almost full strength is great,” Gibson said of the former league MVP, before being pressed about Rose’s present form. “You’ll have to wait and see. He looks great. I can tell you he looks great sometimes, but one thing about a knee injury, you never know. He may look good one day, the next day it swells up on you, so you just have to take care of your body.”
Thibodeau chimed in: “He feels a little bit better each day. He’s actually feeling pretty good.
“You’re never going to see — no matter what we’re doing -- you’re never going to get it to a game-like intensity. We strive to, but that’s not going to happen in practice and his game is explosion, stop-and-go and all that, so he has to feel very good about that. It’s very unique. It’s power, it’s speed, it’s quickness, it’s agility. It’s a combination of all those things. His change of direction is a big part of his game. We’ve just got to make sure that he’s completely ready to do that, so he’s handled his part great,” he added. “As I told you guys before, I think he’s being very truthful about what he says. He puts everything — the way he’s approached it and this is from the moment he had the surgery, the next day — he has into whatever he’s being asked to do and then, he’ll feel that he’ll know when it’s time, and we have to trust him and as I said before, I trust him implicitly.”
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There still isn’t a timetable for Rose’s eventual return to game action, but when it does occur, the coach said there is a plan in place, as far as the point guard’s workload.
“We have some general parameters, but once the final step is made — because again, we don’t know when it’ll be,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve had the opportunity because of our schedule to do a little bit more scrimmaging, which I think has been very helpful, so hopefully he keeps moving along.”
And as Rose does move along and Thibodeau continues to stress patience from the media in particular, the coach insists that the press will be informed in a normal fashion.
“He’ll tell all of us,” he said. “Trust me, he understands what’s going on here and we just have to let him work through it.”
Or, he joked, “Well, you guys — we’re going to wait to hear from you.”