With back pain continuing, Rose will see a specialist

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With back pain continuing, Rose will see a specialist

BOSTON When it first occurred, Derrick Roses lower back spasms were a mild concern, but not something viewed as a long-term situation. Now, its a serious issue.

Its been going on for a couple of games. It started first time I remember it happening was in high school but college, I didnt have it. First couple of years, I didnt have it. Just all of a sudden, it just happened now and hopefully tomorrow, meet with some people and try to figure something out, a downcast Rose said before Sundays contest against the Celtics, which he sat out of. It was the whole trip, but I just played through it. The more I played through it, it tended to get worse after every game. At the time, I was really worried about it, but just tried to stay positive and hopefully Ill be all right.

I dont know the diagnosis. I dont know what to call it, but I just know my back is not right, continued the Eastern Conference All-Star starter, who was seen being stretched out on the sideline during the second game of the Bulls nine-game road trip, in Washington. I dont remember when it started. It just came from out of nowhere, man. Thats the scary thing about it.

Throughout this whole trip, its been bothering me. If you see me during the game or whenever Im out of the game, Im always getting stretched and Im usually not getting stretched at all, unless its before the game. It was getting tight then, but I was able to play through it and it was getting worse the longer I was playing.

Rose will see a specialist Monday when the Bulls return to Chicago, but wouldnt speculate on whether hed play in the teams next game, Tuesday against Sacramento at the United Center.

Probably go see some people tomorrow, have them look at it. But I dont know yet, he said. I cant say Im going to be out. If I feel good tomorrow, Im definitely going to play then, but I dont know yet.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who started C.J. Watson in Roses place, indicated that the organization would be cautious with Rose.

Its not cleared up as much as we would like right now. He still has a little bit of stiffness, so we decided its better to sit him out of this one, he said. Once we get back home, well have a chance to go see a specialist and well go from there.

Well, youre always concerned. Its something that hes had before. He had it when he was in high school, so were hopeful it gets cleared up shortly, but we want to make sure.

Backs are tricky, so thats why hes going to see a specialist tomorrow, he added. Well, theyre always looking at players. We feel real good about C.J. and John Lucas has played extremely well for us, so were confident in him and of course, we have Ronnie, who can go to the point as well. If we act, fine. If not, were good with what we have.

Rose said the injury has been increasingly painful since his last game, Wednesday in New Orleans.

I definitely felt it those games and I thought it was something that would easily go away, but its just been lingering on, he said. Its killing me right now, not being able to play or when I do play, my minutes are definitely down. Not being healthy, its getting to me, especially this game. Just got to stay positive and hope for the best.

I really couldnt move out there, but we won the game against the Hornets. Thats all that matters to me. If Im out there, just try to do anything to make us win, Rose added. I could barely walk. Hopefully I get treatment and it goes away or calms down. Then, Ill be able to play. But if not, take my time.

Rose also detailed the decision-making process as to whether he plays.

Usually, before the game. It goes back and forth, but its really my decision. If I feel good nobody can tell me how I feel but myself so I feel good, Im going to try to go. But during the game, if its hurting or were up, weve got a big lead or something, I can definitely sit out. Now, its just hurting a little bit more, said the reigning league MVP, who has played through injuries in the past. Not being able to move, its a whole other thing.

Its usually up to me if I want to play. If I feel good the morning I wake up or after I get done shooting, or warming up, Ill be able to play, but if not, Ill definitely let them know, but if not, Ill be able to sit down, continued Rose, who has been receiving constant treatment. Its just not going down yet. Ive got to be able to move, get up without hurting, be myself.

Right when I feel theres no pain there anymore, thats when Ill be ready.

Rose wouldnt speculate if he would participate in the Feb. 26 All-Star Game in Orlando.

Thats too far to really think about that. I havent thought about it. It could be tomorrow, where I wake up and it feels good. I remember in high school, I didnt get any treatment or anything. I just knew that I took a couple days off and I was able to play downstate and I didnt feel it. Hopefully its the same thing, said Rose.

While Rose was crestfallen about missing the final game of the Bulls long road swing, he was confident that his teammates could make up for his absence.

I think everybody is definitely important on this team. We have people on this team that dont think that theyre bigger than this team or bigger than this organization. The thing is, we have a deep team. If one of us goes out, the other guy comes in and does the job and thats what makes us a special team, I think. I know that if Im not playing, I dont have to worry about anything because we have C.J. and J. Luke that come in and play a good game, and they play under pressure well. Im not worried about it. I know that the team is not. I know that we should be prepared tonight and I know that when someones down, someone comes up and plays big, he explained. Thats whats really killing me right now, knowing that Im missing this many games. Its killing me not to be out there, but as long as were winning games, Im happy.

The injury doesnt bother me because Im so young, but its my first time missing this many games, period in life, period. It hurts, not being to be out there with my team. I was a guy that was always on the court or if I was injured, miss a game or two and then Id be back, but to miss this many games and knowing that were playing great dont get me wrong, Im loving that were winningbut to not be out there, it hurts, he continued. I think I conditioned myself well, prepared myself well for this season. I wouldnt say its too much the season. I think its just something that just happened. I didnt have any big falls on my back or anything. Its just something that I woke up and my back was tight. Just cant really get rid of it right now.

It sure sounds like Jimmy Butler regrets being labeled as the face of the Bulls franchise

It sure sounds like Jimmy Butler regrets being labeled as the face of the Bulls franchise

Jimmy Butler didn't come close to following in his trainer's footsteps, but Mr. G. Buckets Unplugged still proved enlightening.

Following a wild Thursday, Butler hopped on the phone Friday afternoon from Paris to chat with Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times about the deal that sent the former face of the Bulls to rejoin Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota.

Butler wanted to be labeled as the face of the franchise, but his comments seem to reflect the old adage "be careful what you wish for."

"It doesn't mean a damn thing. I guess being called the face of an organization isn't as good as I thought. We all see where being the so-called face of the Chicago Bulls got me. So let me be just a player for the Timberwolves, man. That's all I want to do. I just want to be winning games, do what I can for my respective organization and let them realize what I'm trying to do.

"Whatever they want to call me... face... I don't even want to get into that anymore. Whose team is it? All that means nothing. You know what I've learned? Face of the team, eventually, you're going to see the back of his head as he's leaving town, so no thanks."

Whoa.

Butler also spoke about trying to block out all the trade rumors while on vacation in France:

"I mean, I had so many people telling me what could possibly happen, but I just got to the point where I stopped paying attention to it. 

"It's crazy because it reminds you of what a business this is. You can't get mad at anybody. I'm not mad - I'm not. I just don't like the way some things were handled, but it's OK."

Butler doesn't have to be the sole face of the franchise in Minnesota on a team that has two of the top homegrown young stars in the game in Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

Bulls have emerged from a ball of confusion to parts unknown

Bulls have emerged from a ball of confusion to parts unknown

The big red button was pressed and Jimmy Butler was ejected from the Chicago Bulls’ present and future as they finally made the decision to rebuild after two years of resisting.

Trading Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the ability to draft Lauri Markkanen represents the Bulls committing to the draft lottery and fully going in on the Fred Hoiberg experience for the foreseeable future, as the prospect of trying to improve through shrewd moves in the East while also facing the likelihood of Butler commanding a $200 million contract wasn’t palatable to their pocketbook or their sensibilities.

On one hand, making a decision — any decision — can be applauded on some levels after years of their relationship with Butler being complicated at best. But the idea of rebuilding and the application of it are often two separate ideals, because the evaluation of a rebuild can often be as murky as the land the Bulls just left.

“What we’ve done tonight is set a direction,” Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson said. “We’ve gone to the past where we make the playoffs, but not at the level we wanted to. You know in this league, success is not determined that way. We’ve decided to make the change and rebuild this roster.”

“We’re gonna remain patient and disciplined. The development of our young players is important. The coaching staff has done a phenomenal job. We’re gonna continue down that path. We’re not gonna throw huge money at people.”

The Bulls aren’t exclusive to this territory, the land in which they’ve inhibited for the last couple seasons, which makes the Butler trade about more than one thing.

Not equal parts but part basketball, part fiscal, part narrative and finally, masking some mistakes that have been made over the years but are not as easily rectified. Trading Butler seemed to be the easiest vessel used as an elixir to wash away missteps. Trading a star in Butler is also the easiest way to get heat off a coach or front office in today’s NBA, because few franchises like to make wholesale changes midstream or early in it.

Trading Butler — along with shipping their second-round pick in a box marked for the Bay Area — was also financial, considering many felt if he made it through the tumultuous evening that he would finish his career as a Bull, raking in a hefty sum of cash on the back end.

It’s because of these factors that the evaluation of this trade and subsequently, a painful rebuild, cannot be in a vacuum. (Note: No rebuild is painless, it’s the size of the migraine a team can endure that determines the type of aspirin necessary).

Just taking a look at the players the Bulls got back in the Butler trade illustrates the gray area they’ve now immersed themselves into. The Bulls fell in love with Dunn before he came to the NBA, and aren’t as bothered by him being a 23-year old second-year player who struggled mightily in his rookie year.

Zach LaVine is an explosive athlete who can put up 20 every night — when he’s on the floor. Recovering from an ACL injury is no given, as evidenced by a young phenom who once graced the United Center hardwood before his body betrayed him.

And Lauri Markkanen is a rookie with promise, but nobody can make any promises on what type of career he’ll have, or if he’ll fulfill that promise with this franchise in the requisite time.

“There’s always risk in anything,” Paxson said. “But here’s a guy that’s 22 years old and averages 20 a game (LaVine). He can score the basketball, he can run. He can shoot the basketball. He shot over 40 percent from three. That’s an area we’re deficient in. Markkanen shot over 40 from three in college. Again, it’s an area where we’re deficient. It’s trying to find the type of player that fits the way that we want to play going forward.”

[RELATED: Jimmy Butler bids emotional farewell to Chicago]

General Manager Gar Forman stated after the announcement of the trade that the Bulls would have to hit on their next few draft picks to stop this rebuild from being elongated, but even then there’s no guarantee.

The Sacramento Kings drafted a rookie of the year, then two future max contract players in the same year, followed by another player who’ll command close to max money very soon. But nobody remembers Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside and Isaiah Thomas leading the Kings from the wilderness and into glory, unless recent memory has been scrubbed away from everyone.

Inconsistencies in organizational structure combined with multiple coaching changes and an inability to develop the right young players kept the Kings on the dais of the draft lottery every April.

The Timberwolves, heck, nobody could say they missed when selecting LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and getting Andrew Wiggins in a trade for Kevin Love. It’s because it takes more than the right draft picks, or in the Sacramento Kings’ case, the right infrastructure and environment, to foster an atmosphere of winning.

The Bulls were ready, despite their claims that this was a decision that came across their table right before the draft, because common sense has to be applied. No team makes knee-jerk, franchise-altering decisions that will have reverberations for years to come on the whim of a trade offer from Tom Thibodeau. This was likely decided when the Bulls went out with a whimper in the first-round after shocking the NBA world in the first two games against the Boston Celtics, when their fortunes changed on the trifle of Rajon Rondo’s broken wrist.

It was decided that Hoiberg, the man who endured chants calling for his firing in the second half of the decisive Game 6 loss, needed to have the right type of roster to be accurately judged as a successful hire or failure, and Butler couldn’t be part of those plans.

And just as Hoiberg has been dealt an uneven hand, Butler wasn’t given the type of roster that would accurately judge how he could flourish as a leader, max player and face of the franchise — and probably had less time to show one way or the other relative to his coach.

The longer Butler stayed, the more empowered he would become as his individual accomplishments would rack up because of the dedication he applied to game, the drive he had to place himself in the upper echelon of NBA players.

The better Butler got, the more pressure Hoiberg would be under to mix and match his roster and to foster a relationship with Butler he might’ve been ill-suited to fix. The better Butler got, the more pressure the front office would be under to maximize a prime it didn’t see coming, a prime they can’t truly figure when there’s an expiration date on given Butler’s unlikely rise to stardom.

So getting rid of Butler was the solution and the Bulls have now chosen their path, definitively and with confidence. Emerging from a ball of confusion to parts unknown, from one land of uncertainty to another.