SALT LAKE CITY — Jazz point guard John Lucas III is a close friend of Derrick Rose, dating back to even before his stint with the Bulls in the 2011-12 season, in which the Chicago native tore his left ACL in the team’s opening playoff game.
While he hasn’t yet been in touch with Rose directly since the former league MVP tore his right medial meniscus, had surgery to repair the injury and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, Lucas, who stopped by the visiting locker room at Energy Solutions Arena to greet his former teammates after the Bulls’ 89-83 overtime loss Monday night, has his fellow point guard in his thoughts.
“Nah, I was going to give myself two days [before reaching out to Rose]. I sent a Tweet and an Instagram with some words. It’s a lot probably going on with him. I’ll reach out to him,” the former Bulls fan favorite told CSNChicago.com. “He’s going to come back stronger. He was coming back into his own. It’s just tough that he started to look like Derrick Rose and then this happened. So it’s just a minor setback. He’s going to come back, then get healthy. I just want him to get healthy, no matter what."
Lucas also believes the Bulls will remain competitive without Rose this season.
“Yeah, without a doubt. They’re still a great group of guys. They still have a good team. They’re going to be just fine in the East. They’re going to come in and they’re going to play hard like they play every night,” he said. “It’s just that a lot has happened in 48 hours, so once everything settles down, they’re going to be the Chicago Bulls.”
Reinsdorf supportive of Rose
Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf issued a statement through the team, to express his thoughts on Rose’s injury: “Like Bulls fans everywhere, I was heartbroken when I heard of Derrick’s injury. We are happy to know that, according to his doctors, his surgery was successful, and in time, Derrick is expected to make a full recovery. Everyone at the Bulls knows firsthand how extremely hard Derrick worked to return to the court this year, and I have no doubt he will do the same with regards to his recovery from this injury. Despite Derrick’s absence, this is still a good team. I know from last year, this team and coaching staff will continue to make our fans proud.”
Jazz coach Corbin also sympathetic
Tyrone Corbin has a connection to Chicago, having starred for DePaul in college before a long and productive NBA playing career, then becoming a coach, first under mentor Jerry Sloan, a former Bulls player and now as the Jazz’s head coach.
“Well, I’m sad for the guy. I know how tough it was last year to miss the entire season with the injury that he had and he worked his tail off to get back, and it looked like he was turning the corner and feeling good about himself,” Corbin said. “To get another injury, it’s an unfortunate part of the business and we’re playing that everything turns out well for him. He seems to be a really nice young man, so hopefully he’ll get back soon.”
Boozer has big game in old stomping grounds
Carlos Boozer had a game-high 26 points and 16 rebounds in the Bulls’ loss, excelling in the arena he used to call home as a two-time Western Conference All-Star when he played for Utah.
“A lot of good memories of this building,” Boozer said. “Not too many familiar faces in there, but a lot of good memories.”