Thibodeau discusses Rose's interview, status

Thibodeau discusses Rose's interview, status
February 12, 2013, 3:45 pm
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DEERFIELD, ILL. — Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau downplayed injured superstar Derrick Rose’s comments about not “coming back until I’m 110 percent,” insisting that the former league MVP said nothing that didn’t jibe with the organization’s steady stance.

“Well, that’s what we’ve been saying all along. There’s no change there. It’s all the same. When he’s ready, he’ll play,” Thibodeau said after the team’s practice Tuesday afternoon at the Berto Center. “I just talk to him every day. I’m not concerned about [it]. To me, I know where we are and nothing has changed.:

“It’s fine. It is what it is. We’re not concerned about it. This is what we’ve been telling you guys all along, so nothing has changed.”

In his first published interview since training camp, Rose told USA Today that he’s “probably in the high 80s” right now and that he’s “far away” from coming back to the court.

“I don’t have a set date,” he told the newspaper Monday, though the interview was published Tuesday morning. “I’m not coming back until I’m 110 percent. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It’s just that I’m not coming back until I’m ready.”

Bulls general manager Gar Forman told the newspaper, “People want to pigeonhole exactly when he returns and I understand that.

“Everybody would like to know. We would like to know the exact date,” Forman continued. “But what we really tried to do was stay true to the process.”

There has been rampant speculation about Rose’s return with most educated guesses believing that the point guard will be back on the floor after this weekend’s NBA All-Star break. While Rose’s comments don’t definitively indicate that possibility is out of the question, they also don’t lend much credence to the notion that he’ll make his return in next Tuesday’s road game at New Orleans, the Bulls’ first game after the break.

“He’s right where he should be. He’s right on the schedule. When he’s ready, we’ll know and we’ll go from there,” Thibodeau said. “That’s why we’ve approached it the way we have. The team has to concentrate on their improvement and the next opponent. He has to do his rehab and at some point, he’ll rejoin us and we’ll go from there, but nothing has changed. He’s doing fine. The big thing is to understand in a practice, you’re never going to get it to an NBA game-like intensity. You’re going to strive to get it as close as possible, but you’re not going to be able to get there, so we’ll know. He has to keep doing the things that he’s been doing and it’s going to work out fine.”

While people with knowledge of Rose’s ongoing recovery have told that he appears closer and closer to being ready to play in games again, his comments were very sobering, especially when considering the subsequent injury setbacks of Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio — the Timberwolves believe he came back three weeks too early, according to a source — and the uneven return of Chicago-area native Iman Shumpert of the Knicks, both also young guards who suffered ACL injuries.

But Rose also told USA Today that he believes that when he eventually does come back, he’ll be just fine.

“With all this hard work I’ve been putting into my game, I’m doing stuff I never did before,” he said. “I gained 10, 11 pounds of muscle. I don’t know what type of player I’m going to be. I just know that I’m going to be very good.”

Thibodeau, who acknowledged that Rose is “moving along” in the recovery process, as evidenced by doing more explosive drills and noted that he’s “not at all” concerned about what type of player the former No. 1 overall draft pick will be upon his return, concurred with that opinion.

“I see what he’s doing every day,” Thibodeau said. "He’s coming along fine and he’ll be fine.”

“If that’s what he’s saying — you guys know Derrick — he’s going to tell you honestly where he is. He’s just got to keep working. He’s making good progress,” continued the coach, when asked about Rose’s self-assessment, before addressing whether he believed the Englewood native would play this season. “If he’s ready [Rose will play this season]. To me, it’s why we’ve taken the approach that we have. There’s no timetable. It’s when he’s ready. We’re not measuring it against someone else’s timetable. It’s just, ‘This is Derrick.’ When he’s ready, he will go.”

The Bulls, who travel to Boston for a Wednesday-night matchup against the Celtics in their last game before the All-Star break, continue to enforce a policy of not making Rose available to the media, despite the 24-year-old’s extensive interview Monday.

“When he’s comfortable and ready to talk, he’ll talk,” Thibodeau said. “I think he’s feeling better and we just want him to continue to do the things that he’s been doing.”