Chicago Bulls

Rose takes contact, isn't held back in practice

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Rose takes contact, isn't held back in practice

With an eye toward returning in Thursdays home game against the Celtics, Derrick Rose has ramped up the rehabilitation process for his strained right groin. The All-Star point guard was a full participant in Wednesday afternoons practice at the Berto Center, taking contact for the first time since the injury, which occurred 11 games prior.

I really dont know. I felt good, but me playing tomorrow, I dont know. Im able to run a little bit more, but not at my top speed, said Rose after practice. I really cant explain, unless youve had the injury.

I definitely feel better. Im running, able to move a little bit more, so Im getting healthy, he continued. Ive taken three weeks off or two weeks off, however many Ive taken off my conditioning is definitely a worry, but in basketball, you should be able to fight through it.

Its my first time ever having this injury. Usually people, after they have it, they usually dont have it anymore, but my biggest thing is coming back too quick and re-injuring it again.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Rose has been increasingly active in past days and while he looked good shooting the ball in a voluntary workout session Tuesday, but while he looked OK in Wednesdays practice, he was tentative and not in playing shape, things that should be expected after such a long absence. Still, just having Rose back in practice was a positive for the Bulls, coming off their first two-game losing streak of the season.

It was a good day at practice. Everyone went, so thats good, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who noted that Rose went through everything Wednesday. It was good because coming off a day off, we had the opportunity to do a lot of stuff.

You know, Im an optimist. I always believe it could happen. Thats the way I think. I get around you guys, then I think it wont happen, continued a sarcastic Thibodeau quipped when asked about Roses status for Thursdays game. Well see how he feels tomorrow. His speed and quickness looked very good, so I thought it was very encouraging.

Rip Hamilton, Roses backcourt partner who just returned from a long absence due to injury himself, was similarly optimistic about how Rose appeared Wednesday.

On Derricks bad days, hes still a 10 in terms of explosiveness, on a scale of 1-10. He possesses all the attributes, so when hes 100 percent, hes way over 10. Him not full speed is still faster than probably 98 percent of the league, he said. The first time in a long time to have everybody practicing in a long time. Its a good thing that we were all on the floor at the same time.

With this season, its hard to do a whole lot of scrimmaging. It was the same thing for me when I came back. I didnt get an opportunity to scrimmage, so the first five-on-five was in a game, so we just try to stay conditioned, take little bumps during practice.

Hamilton believes the Bulls will be much improved with their full cast on hand after Rose returns to the lineup.

I definitely think so. Guys have done a great job stepping in and doing what theyve been doing Ronnie, Kyle, C.J., John those guys have been excellent the whole season. I think when we come back, everybody gets their rhythm, everybody gets back into their comfort zone, what theyre used to doing, well be great, the veteran explained. He does so many great things on the floor that can get me so many wide-open baskets. I think in the past and pretty much my whole career, just working so hard, my team looked at me to lead the team in scoring every game and now Im in a situation where I can just get to spots. Derricks going to create, Derricks going to make plays to make my job a lot easier, so I can get a lot of easy wide-open shots.

Thibodeau tacitly admitted that the dual absences of Rose and Hamilton have put additional pressure on Bulls reserves, such as C.J. Watson, who has endured both significant and nagging injuries throughout the season himself.

One of C.J.s strengths is the way he shoots the ball. Hes played through some nicks, hes banged up a little bit, but hes got a lot of mental toughness and hes done a great job going in for Derrick or when Derricks been out. Overall, C.J.s had a terrific year for us, he said. I think this time of the year, you have to strike that balance of the rest and playing. We also want him to be in rhythm down the road, so I think just step by step. The way the schedule is this month, if we need to sit him out of some practices, well probably do thatgive him an opportunity to rest therebut hes done a good job overall for us. Hes had a great year.

Meanwhile, Thibodeau praised Roses positive outlook during a trying time.

Hes been patient. Hes done a great job with his rehab. Each day, hes done more and more. Hes feeling better and better, and so, well see how he feels tomorrow. He did quite a bit yesterday and he did more today, so its very encouraging, but well see where he is tomorrow, he said. Hes approached it great. His attitude has been great. Fred Tedeschi, our trainer, and Bulls assistant trainer Jeff Tanaka have done a great job with him. Our medical staff, theyve taken him through it step by step. Hes been diligent with the rehab, twice a day. I think he knows what he is. Hell be fine.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls the worst team in NBA?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls the worst team in NBA?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Nick Shepkowski (670 The Score) and Dan Cahill (Chicago Sun-Times) join Kap on the panel. Jake Arrieta will return to the rotation to face the Brewers. Can he recapture his pre-injury form? Mike Glennon gets another start Sunday but should he get the hook if he struggles again?

Plus, the guys discuss the one metric that says the Bulls are the worst team in the NBA.

A 'woke' Doug Collins returns to provoke thought — and we'll find out who's asleep in Bulls' front office

A 'woke' Doug Collins returns to provoke thought — and we'll find out who's asleep in Bulls' front office

Doug Collins made it clear, that his return to the Bulls organization won’t result in a return to the sidelines as head coach, meaning Fred Hoiberg has nothing to worry about in the way of looking over his shoulder.

What Collins did admit, though, is he’s back with the Bulls to provoke thought. Anyone who’s listened to Collins as a broadcaster for ESPN or Turner Sports, or talked to him in any basketball capacity, knows he’s not only a hoops lifer but also someone who can have strong opinions, capable of quick dissection of a complex picture in a moment’s notice.

“I’m not here to be a decision-maker. I want to provoke thought. My mind is very active,” Collins said Tuesday afternoon at the Advocate Center. “And I think to get into a room and to bounce ideas off each other or whatever, at the end of the day, Gar, Michael, Jerry, Pax will make those decisions. The beauty of it is is that when there’s a level of trust when you’re talking about things, you can speak openly and honestly with people knowing the only thing that matters is that whatever happens is the best for the franchise.”

Announcing Collins as a senior advisor to executive vice president John Paxson adds another voice to the Bulls’ braintrust and is probably an admission this rebuild will require more than what the Bulls already have, be it in terms of connections, observation and even innovation.

Collins’ connection to Paxson and Jerry Reinsdorf, a growing relationship with Michael Reinsdorf and ability to relate with Hoiberg due to the misery of coaching should align a front office to the floor in ways that has been in doubt for the past several seasons.

“Given Jerry's relationship and my relationship with Doug over the years, we thought, hey, let's see if maybe this isn't a good time for Doug to come back into the fold,” Paxson said. “So we approached him and it was very casual, no expectations other than he's been a friend of ours for so long. But the more we kind of dug into the prospects of this and what it means, the more we kept asking ourselves, why wouldn't we do this?”

Collins made it clear he won’t be giving up his family life, as he already has residence in Chicago and his son Chris is coaching Northwestern and a son-in-law coaching a high school team outside Philadelphia.

“The hours and the time commitment that Fred Hoiberg puts in on a day and the energy that he spends and being on the road and being away from his family,” Collins said. “(This) worked perfectly in my schedule when I talked to Pax that I could be a part of something special, the Chicago Bulls, and I love the Chicago Bulls.”

His energy and passion can light up a room, and though he tried his best to say that’s died down at age 66, claiming “I can sit and do a crossword puzzle for three hours now”, people wired like Collins don’t lose their fervor for the game.

“I think there’s this feeling that I’m a guy who’s always on and fired up,” Collins said.

But that fire and passion and presumably a willingness to be uncompromising with the truth should be something that’s welcome inside the Advocate Center. In addition to his acumen, one of Collins’ greatest strengths is his fervor, and it shouldn’t be scaled back.

That’s not how rebuilds work successfully. Lines have to be crossed and people have to be made uncomfortable in their line of thinking, even if it’s Paxson or Hoiberg or general manager Gar Forman.

It’s not hard to see the Bulls following the thinking of the Golden State Warriors when they added Jerry West in an advisory role years ago, resulting in several key moves being made, most notably West’s objection to Klay Thompson being traded to Minnesota for Kevin Love before Love was eventually moved to Cleveland.

West’s guidance played a part in the Warriors’ upward trajectory to championship status, and he hopes to have a similar affect with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Comparing West with Collins on its face is a bit unfair, considering West’s experience as an executive and championship pedigree dating back to his days with the Lakers.

At least with West, he’s not trying to convince anyone he isn’t anything but a tortured basketball soul at age 79. Collins reminded everyone he’s a grandfather of five and at a spry 66, West would call Collins a “spring chicken.”

What Collins can bring is a keen eye for observation, and expecting him to be a passive personality doesn’t quite seem right, especially leaving the cushy job at ESPN that allowed him maximum exposure and a schedule to his liking.

Perhaps the way Collins left the NBA, with a massive gambit in Philadelphia falling flat when Andrew Bynum’s knees rendered him useless and sending the 76ers franchise into “The Process,” left him with a bad taste in his mouth.

Maybe his competitive juices got him going again and the broadcast booth just wasn’t cutting it, along with having a front seat to the injury that changed the course of the Bulls franchise when Derrick Rose tore his ACL in 2012 against Collins’ 76ers.

Maybe the crossword puzzles just couldn’t get it done anymore. After all, the man once cried on the sidelines as his Detroit Pistons beat the Bulls in a regular-season game in 1997. Curbing that passion would be a disservice.

“See how things quickly change? The NBA is cyclical now,” Collins said. “Other than the San Antonio Spurs, over the last 20 years, every elite franchise has gone through this moment. And so now what you got to do, you got to dig yourself back up.

“We got to start doing all the things that are necessary to gain assets day by day, to put all the work, so we’re going to give ourself a chance, when we continue to get better players and more talent, that you’re going to win more basketball games.”

Collins said he has old-school values, all while being caught up with the times that he called himself “woke” as a nod to the current culture.

If he truly is, we’ll also find out who’s asleep in the front office, in desperate need a loud wake-up call.