Rose's situation a blessing in disguise?


Rose's situation a blessing in disguise?

As worrisome as the state of Derrick Rose's back is to both the Bulls organization and fans alike, keep in mind that it could be worse.

The fact that a specialist confirmed, via general manager Gar Forman, that the Eastern Conference All-Star starter doesn't have any structural damage should be viewed as a huge positive.

While the injury has been lingering since early in the team's just-passed nine-game road trip and Rose's day-to-day status (as well as his admission about how much pain he was in) are concerning, but not as dire as a diagnosis that the reigning league MVP, at only 23 years old, is afflicted with an ailment could impede the progress of his already-stellar career.

That it's occurring now, as the Bulls are entering a home stand prior to the upcoming All-Star break, is also good fortune, as the arduous travel -- complete with late-night flights and sleeping in different hotel beds every other night -- in this condensed schedule can't be good for his present condition.

With the Bulls having a lofty 23-7 record at this point -- a win Tuesday night against Sacramento or a Miami loss will send head coach Tom Thibodeau and his staff to Orlando, joining Rose and teammate Luol Deng -- as well as a day between each home game and not exactly a gauntlet of elite teams on the slate, it's a perfect time for the point guard to rest.

Critics will say he could have sat out road contests at New Jersey and New Orleans, in which he played limited minutes, but let's not pretend Thibodeau or the front office held a gun to the head of Rose, a fierce competitor, and forced him to participate.

Along with starting backcourt partner Rip Hamilton, also ailing with a right-thigh injury -- not to mention the death of his grandmother, his family's matriarch -- Rose should take the time to properly heal and if he chooses to play in the All-Star Game, it should be a token appearance, which is almost guaranteed if Thibodeau is coaching him.

Either way, the combination of how the schedule breaks for the Bulls (though Thibodeau would argue that no games are easy in the NBA) and the long-term damage to his back is potentially minimal, Rose's current situation should be viewed as a blessing in disguise.

What's your opinion of the ongoing saga?

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Milwaukee Bucks today on CSN and streaming live on Coverage begins at 2 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then 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.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls get one on the Bucks? The Bulls are 0-3 against the Bucks so far this season and it hasn't been pretty. The Bucks have won the previous three meetings all by double digits and by an average of 19 points. The youth and athleticism of the Bucks has been a tough matchup for the Bulls so far.

2. Containing Giannis. There may be no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bulls can at least try to contain him. Antetokounmpo is averaging 23 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. In three games against the Bulls this year he has averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest. If the Bulls are to stay in the game, they will need to keep him to numbers lower than that.

3. Playoff implications. The Bulls playoff hopes are still alive with nine games remaining, but things are looking a bit bleak. The Bulls are a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot, but only 3.5 games behind two teams tied for the No. 5 seed, the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have won three in a row to improve their position.

4. Mirotic on a roll. Streaky play is nothing new to Nikola Mirotic, but he's on a good run currently. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Pistons, Mirotic followed that up with 15 points against the 76ers. Since missing three straight games earlier this month, Mirotic has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and is averaging 15.6 points during that stretch.

5. Beginning of a tough stretch. The Bulls' playoff hopes could be made or broken in the next three games. After taking on the Bucks, which occupy a playoff spot, the Bulls host two more Eastern Conference playoff teams in Cleveland and Atlanta. The Bulls need to string some wins together and this is not an easy stretch to do so against.

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you're ready for action

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- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Bulls fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Bulls Pulse

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

The NBA announced Saturday that it has suspended former Bulls and current Knicks center Joakim Noah for 20 games without pay for violating the league's anti-drug policy.

He tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement called selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033, which is prohibited under the current collective bargaining agreement but would not have been under the new CBA starting next year, according to ESPN's Marc Spears.

It was announced in February that Noah would miss the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. His suspension will carry over into the 2017-18 campaign with only 10 games left this year.

Noah averaged 5.0 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game in 46 games in his first of a four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks.