Rose expects to play Sunday

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Rose expects to play Sunday

Barring any setbacks, Derrick Rose expects to return to the lineup for the Bulls Sunday against the New York Knicks.

Im feeling good, said Rose. My groin is not bothering me. Im happy to move on and my spirits are up. Today is my first full practice, just practicing with the guys felt good out there and hopefully Ill be playing Sunday.

Coach Tom Thibodeau didnt share the point guards thought process, listing his status as only game-time and said the team is optimistic and hopeful about his return.

He just has to keep making the progress that hes making, said Thibodeau. Hes practiced well, hasnt had any problems the next day and as long as it stays that way, hopefully, hell be ready.

Rose has missed 12 straight games since straining his groin on Mar. 12th against the Knicks and the Bulls have gone 8-4 in that frame without him.

Even with the teams success without him, it appears not even his coach is going to hold him from playing on Sunday.

Its really not up to him, its up to me, said Rose. If Im feeling good, Im going to play, if I think that I need some more days of rest, than Im going to take some more days, but more than likely, Ill be out there Sunday.

Rose also said it will most likely be up to how hes feeling regarding how many minutes he plays and joked that if the game was closed, he might have to fight his way to get back onto the court.

His conditioning also isnt a concern to him as he said he has run a lot since being cleared to along with running in the pool.

He participated in three-on-three on Friday and did some one-on-one, isolation plays that included cutting a lot and chasing after John Lucas IIII, so it sounds like all signs point to him being ready to play.

Hes never missed an extended amount of time like this before, but every other time when he comes back, he usually gets up to speed pretty quickly, said Thibodeau on Rose getting back into a rhythm. Hes been putting a lot of extra time in, so hopefully hell be ready once hes out there.

Well see where he is. Hes missed quite a bit of time. Well see where his conditioning is and how hes feeling. The important thing is we want to be smart about it.

The Bulls have just 10 games remaining until the playoffs and Sundays matchup could be a potential glimpse of who theyll be seeing in the first round as the Knicks are trying to hold off the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

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AP

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

Here are some of Saturday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Preview: Cubs look to sweep Reds on CSN

White Sox scoreless streak hits 23 innings in loss to Indians

No clear options for Fred Hoiberg at point guard

Two days later, Blackhawks still stunned, 'embarrassed' by quick exit

Cubs offense explodes with three home runs in victory over Reds

Stan Bowman 'completely, completely disappointed' with Blackhawks

White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer: 'Our time is coming soon'

Still in mourning, Isaiah Thomas dictates pace, delivers for Celtics

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Boston Celtics today in Game 4 on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. And be sure to stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live-streaming coverage of the Bulls.

1. Which point guard steps up? With "Playoff Rondo" shelved after suffering a thumb injury, one of the Bulls point guards needs to step up for them to win Game 4. No one is expecting a near-triple-double like Rajon was approaching in Game 2, but hitting open shots and pushing the pace will be vital on Sunday. Jerian Grant finished with a minus-15 and zero assists in Game 3, while Michael Carter-Williams played 23 minutes and scored only two points on 1-for-5 shooting. If those two continue to struggle, it wouldn't be surprising to see Fred Hoiberg call Denzel Valentine's name. 

2. Bigger game from Jimmy Butler. In Game 1 Jimmy Butler dropped 30 points. He followed that up with 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in the Game 2 win. Game 3 wasn’t as pretty for the Bulls’ top scorer. Butler had 14 points on 7-21 shooting and didn’t have any assists. It’s an obvious thing to say, but the Bulls need more from Butler to stay in front in the series.

3. Three-point defense. Boston is going to take plenty of threes. The Celtics were third in the NBA in 3-point attempts per game in the regular season with 33.4 per contest. Still, the Celtics shot 17-37 in Game 3. It’s hard to beat a team shooting that well from beyond the arc so the Bulls will have to limit the quality looks Boston gets from the perimeter.

4. Bench production. Not only did Butler have good showings in the first two games, but the Bulls got plenty of bench production as well. That dried up in Game 3. After the Bulls’ bench averaged 30 points in the two games in Boston, the bench had just 16 points in 44 minutes before scoring 10 points in garbage time in the final four minutes of the blowout loss. It doesn’t matter where it comes from - Bobby Portis played the hero in Game 1 and Paul Zipser had the big game off the bench in Game 2 - as long as the bench provides some numbers.

5. Tame big Al Horford. Horford had a nice bounce back game on Friday, scoring 18 points on an efficient 8-for-14 shooting. He also conflated that with a solid floor game, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing six assists. If Horford continues to be aggressive when the Celtics have the ball, it could spell trouble for the Bulls. When Chicago dismantled Boston in Game 2, Horford only had seven points on 3-for-8 shooting. 

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