SACRAMENTO -- Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau may often pretend as if he doesn’t pay any attention to the media, but that’s not the case.
Prior to Wednesday morning’s shootaround at Sleep Train Arena, ahead of his team’s game against the Kings in the evening, Thibodeau addressed Rose’s comments before the Bulls’ Tuesday-afternoon practice in Los Angeles, as well as the growing circus surrounding the superstar’s recovery.
[MORE: No timetable for Rose return]
“It’s been fine and we knew that this was going to be a long process,” Thibodeau commented. “We know that everyone has to be patient and allow Derrick to work through it. I think he’s been honest and truthful all the way along, and part of this is he’s working through it and I think another part of it is the type of guy that he is. He wants the focus to be on the guys that are out there playing now.
“As you guys [the media that covers the Bulls regularly] know -- you guys have been around him a long time -- when he’s active again, he’s going to give you guys access just like he did before, but I think everyone has to allow him to work through it and as I said from the beginning, we have to trust him and I trust him implicitly, and he’s done a great job with his rehab,” he said, before referencing the fact that Rose is actually going along with the plan of action recommended by Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf last summer.
“You guys know -- you guys have been around him -- he’s done his part great. He’s heeded Jerry’s advice from the very beginning, if you guys can recall what Jerry said when he first got injured,” Thibodeau said. “He’s done that and he’s handled his part as well as you can handle it, and no one wants to play more than this kid. I think you guys all understand that.
“He handles his part great. He’s not going to be influenced by anything outside. He knows exactly what he has to do and he’s done that, and this is all part of it, I think, anytime someone goes through an injury and we knew this is going to be a lengthy process to get through this type of injury. He’s put all the work in, he’s done his part, all the things that he can control, he’s controlled, so he’s done a great job,” Thibodeau continued.
“There’s no timetable. It’s whenever he’s ready. He’s ready, he comes back. We’ve made that clear from the beginning, so we’re pleased with the progress that he’s making and we want him to be comfortable when he’s out there. Whenever he’s ready,” Thibodeau insisted.
“There’s no timetable. When he feels comfortable, we’re bringing him back.”
Putting it in perspective, Thibodeau also discussed that while the Bulls certainly miss Rose on the court, his absence doesn’t affect the team nearly as much, simply because he continues to be a constant presence.
“He’s been here every day practicing, so you get to see him and he’s participating in everything. He’s making good, steady progress and we’ll see where it goes,” he explained. “From the beginning of the season because of the circumstance of the injury happening last year, we knew going in that he wasn’t going to be with us for a good chunk of the season. We had no timetable because we didn’t know when he would return.
“We knew from the start that you don’t replace a guy like Derrick individually, that it has to be done collectively and so, we just asked our players to focus in on improvement each and every day. Focus in on our next opponent and for Derrick, we just want him to focus in on his rehab and at some point, hopefully he rejoins the group,” Thibodeau said.