Rose watch: Derrick takes major step toward returnContinue reading.
Thibodeau: Derrick Rose has not been cleared for return
Derrick Rose is the biggest story on the Bulls beat, and until the Bulls start winning more consistently against playoff-caliber teams, the only story on the Bulls beat.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau seemed to come to grips with that when he addressed the tired, but still red-hot Rose return storyline prior to Friday night’s game against the Utah Jazz at the United Center.
Already a snowball rolling downhill, the Rose story picked up more steam Friday when ESPNChicago.com reported that the Bulls have cleared Rose to play, but Rose will not return until he can clear the psychological hurdle of dunking confidently off his injured left leg in a game situation.
”He’s been cleared to do everything that there is,” Thibodeau said. ”But before he makes the final step, everyone … from Jerry [Reinsdorf] on down … has to get together and sign off. And that hasn’t happened yet.”
Rose has been practicing with the team for at least two weeks. He looks confident in pre-game shooting routines. But he said last month that he will not return until he s ”110 percent” and apparently is not yet confident he can go all out in a real NBA game.
Unfortunately, as Thibodeau has said several times, you cannot simulate the intensity of an NBA game in practice. If that’s so, how will Rose ever know he’ll be ready to play again?
”He’ll know. He’ll know,” Thibodeau said. ”He’s done a good job. His approach has been very, very good. You just want him to continue to go. We trust him. When he’s ready, we’ll know.”
The team’s trust in Rose was a major theme of Thibodeau’s comments on the subject of his star player’s return Friday night.
”We knew going in this was going to be the case. So I trust Derrick implicity,” Thibodeau said. ”When he’s ready, he’ll let us know and we’ll go from there. He’s heeded Jerry’s advice from the beginning. Be patient. Be diligent. Do your work. Concentrate on the rehab. And when he’s ready to go, he’ll go.”
But even Thibodeau hinted that that might not be this season. Asked after Friday morning’s shootaround at the Berto Center if he still expect Rose to play at some point this season, Thibodeau said, ”We’re prepared either way. We’ll see what happens.”
But Thibodeau clarified that response prior to Friday night’s game, when he was asked if he would be surprised if Rose did not play this season.
”I don’t look at it that way,” he said. ”I look at it as I knew going in this was going to be a long process. He’s handled his part great. I think our team has done a good job with their part. And that’s all we can do.
”He’s making progress. He’s getting better. He’s come a long way. He’s not quite ready yet. But I’m optimistic and hopefully it’ll happen.”