DEERFIELD, Ill. — Although Derrick Rose didn't practice for the second consecutive day due to a right-hamstring injury suffered in the fourth quarter of Monday's win over Cleveland at the United Center, the point guard was optimistic about playing in the Bulls' game Friday night in Toronto.
"There's a chance. Right now I'm feeling all right, just trying to rest, do a little treatment. But more than likely I'll be out there playing," he said. "If anything, it's getting better. That's all I can say. I'm moving in the right direction and hopefully I'll be out there playing tomorrow.
"It's not a concern at all. I think everything I do or if I get hurt-it can be anything-it's going to be blown out of proportion. I'm doing fine and it shouldn't be anything to worry about," Rose went on to explain. "I'm just tight. I'm just trying to take my time. Don't go out there and overextend myself. I haven't been practicing the last couple of days, but I know I should be ready to go.
"If I could go right now-if the game was today-I'd be playing. I'm not worried about that. It's taking my time, not pushing myself and not overextending myself," he added. "So that should ease everybody's minds.
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Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was more conservative about the former league MVP's chances of suiting up against the Raptors.
"It's day-to-day. It's a little bit better today. We'll see where he is tomorrow. It will be a game-time decision," the coach said after Thursday's practice at the Berto Center. "He's concentrating on rehab right now. We'll see. Each day, he's been a little better.
"He said he feels better. But he just wants to make sure. You have to be careful with that," continued Thibodeau, who noted that the Bulls' first back-to-back set of games of the season-they have a Saturday-night home matchup against Indiana-wouldn't factor into the decision. "We want to make sure he's healthy enough to play. It's whenever he's ready to play. Then he'll play. We're not going to jump ahead and speculate. He's just getting treatment. Work, see what you can do. If you feel healthy enough to go, you go. If you don't, you get time off."
When asked whether or not his situation was reminiscent of the 2011-12 campaign, in which he suffered multiple, less significant ailments leading up to his ACL tear in the opening game of the Bulls' first-round playoff series against Philadelphia or even similar to other players who have recovered from the same injury, only to suffer an assortment of nagging injuries after returning to the court, Rose acknowledged that he understood it was almost inevitable.
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"Yeah, I heard it the whole time I was out from players, from experts that played the game, other players that played other sports. You're going to get other nagging injuries. As long as I get them early rather than late, I'm cool with it," he said. "But this is the most I've ever taken care of my body as far as staying off my feet, recovery, massages. Little frustrating stuff like this happens, but I can't get myself frustrated about it. I just have to go out there and continue to do what I do when I step out on the court and that's play hard. Off the court, really eat right, change my diet a little bit more and really take care of my body like I have been doing."
Thibodeau concurred: "You just want to make sure he's completely healthy. He's been off for 18 months. That's a long time to be off. There are going to be some bumps and bruises along the way. Put everything you have into each day and go from there.
"Everybody is different with injuries. Some guys come back quicker. Some guys it takes longer. Everyone is different and there are different degrees of injuries, too," the coach added. "If he's injured, we don't want him to play. We'll deal with whatever we have to deal with. We feel good about the depth of the team. We have to keep improving and we have to do what's necessary to win."
Rose spent at least the latter portion of the team's practice stretching with the Bulls' director of sports performance, Jen Swanson, who he knows from his rehabilitation at the Athlete's Performance facility in California.
"She knows everything," he explained. "Going to see her, she knows my body even better than I do. Hip flexors, getting my hips loose, by glutes working, just turning things on so when I do go out there and shoot I won't be out there sore or tight."
Regardless of whether or not Rose is able to play over the weekend, the Bulls will be prepared, according to Thibodeau.
"We've got plenty of experience," the coach quipped, cracking a wry smile. "We know what we have to do."
If the Chicago native doesn't suit up, Kirk Hinrich will resume his role as the Bulls' fill-in starting point guard and while he necessarily didn't expect Rose to get hurt, the veteran floor general is prepared.
"I don't know if anybody really thought about that. We thought about injuries throughout the season with every team," Hinrich said. "We dealt with it a lot last year, so hopefully he gets better as soon as he can and we're just going to keep preparing, try to get ready for the Raptors.
"The ball's more in his hands, as opposed to when he's not in there, it's more in my hands. The approach isn't necessarily different, it's just how I'm playing. More kind of feeding off him. It really doesn't change, except I'm not running the team," he continued. "I think it's just the minutes and just being ready from the jump. Playing a lot more with the first-unit guys, as opposed to Mike [Dunleavy] or Taj [Gibson] maybe. But the approach is really the same, as far as just getting the scouting report, be ready to run the team. In that way, it's a lot of the same."
What's exactly the same as last season for the Bulls is the amount of scrutiny everything related to Rose receives, except maybe to the man himself.
"I'm very surprised. You know me, I don't like to get attention like that," he said. "But at the same time, I have to take it into consideration that it comes with the territory and I just have to liv