NEW ORLEANSThough youve likely read or listened to bits and pieces of it before, consider the following the definitive Tom Thibodeau explanation for how he handles injuries and the pacing of his team during this condensed regular-season schedule.
To me, obviously if a guy is hurt, theyre injured, they shouldnt play. But if he can play, he should play. Somehow, this notion of guys sitting out games -- pretty soon well be at the point where a guy sits out the whole season and just plays in the playoffs, if he can get there. I dont get that, Thibodeau said before the Bulls Wednesday-morning shootaround, when asked about the possibility of sitting out Derrick Rose against the Hornets. But I certainly dont want him to play if hes injured. To me, theres a big difference there. We dont want any of our players to play if theyre injured and thats the balance that you have to strike. Right now, our schedule, even though were on the road, theyre spaced out. Were not dealing with back-to-backs right now. If he gets the proper amount of rest -- thats with all our players -- we scale back on a lot of things.
Its not just the minutes the guy plays in a game, its what youre doing on your off days also, so if you cut back practice time and you cut back shootaround, where youre doing more film and that sort of thing. So, you can get rest that way also. I think how you pace your team is important and everything youre doing, youre projecting what you need to be playing your best at the end of the season and to be as healthy as you possibly can, so you are factoring in all those things, he continued. Can you get the proper amount of rest? Can you develop the proper habits you need to be successful late? And the only way you build those habits is doing your work. If you dont do your work and expect to play well at the end, thats just foolish.
Thibodeau also broke down how the Bulls spent Tuesday, a day off, in New Orleans, while theyre in the midst of a nine-game road trip.
Tuesday was meeting, film session, then we had some time available if guys wanted to go and get some work. We had some guys who did that, we had guys who did massage, we had guys who did therapy. So, it was a compilation of things, where whatever you needed, thats what we tried to get to. So, some of the guys who havent been playing a lot, they came over and got some extra work in. the guys who have gotten more minutes, they were back in the hotel and got their treatment, massage and that sort of thing. So, I think thats the big point about how you pace your team, he said. John Lucas III, Scal Brian Scalabrine, Jimmy Butler and then some guys who wanted extra shooting, they got their shooting in, and I think our guys are good about that. so, they know if the rest is more important and whether the extra rest is more important, so thats why were real careful right now about our practice time, what were doing and what were not doing.
As the old NBC public-service commercials used to say, "The more you know." Unless reporters ask Thibodeau for definitive injury news, that is.