TORONTO — Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is a man known for keeping things close to the vest, so when he called Derrick Rose, suffering from a sore right hamstring, “unlikely” to play in Friday night’s game against the Raptors, it’s as good as saying the point guard will definitely be sidelined.
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“He’s a little better, but we’re going to hold him out of practice this morning, so we’ll see where he is,” Thibodeau said before the Bulls’ morning shootaround at the Air Canada Centre. “It’s between he and Fred [Tedeschi, the team’s head athletic trainer]. They’ve got to decide. If he can go, then we want him to go. If he feels like he can’t go, then we don’t want him to go.”
On the other hand, Rose himself wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he could suit up in Toronto and even said that he would participate in the team’s walk-through session.
“It’s getting better. I’m moving in the right direction and that’s all I can hope for. Go out here in shootaround, see what I can do and make a decision tonight,” he said. “If it feels tight or any soreness, there’s no point. But if I go out there and it loosens up, and I’m able to move the way I normally move, I don’t see why I couldn’t play.”
Rose acknowledged that while the final decision would be his, other parties would have a say in whether or not he plays Friday
“Oh yeah, my decision at the end. So be smart. At the same time, know that we’ve got a back-to-back. But go out here and see really how it feels, and I’ll decide from there,” Rose explained. “Management and the training staff really just tell me to take my time. This is my first hamstring injury. We’ve just got to be patient with it.”
Neither Rose nor Thibodeau would admit that with a game against divisional opponent Indiana looming Saturday at the United Center, a precautionary decision made to sit him against the Raptors could be about saving him for the more important contest in the back-to-back set.
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“No, every game is important. I think that’s misguided. That’s misguided when you approach it that way,” Thibodeau said. “He’s slowly improving, but we’ll see where he is [Saturday]. If there’s more improvement and Fred thinks he’s good enough, Derrick thinks he’s good enough, then we go.”
Rose added: “You think about it, but at the same time, I’m not trying to miss any games because I’m just trying to get my rhythm back, so if I have any opportunity to play in this game, I don’t see why not.”