Thibodeau: Rose Welcome for Playoffs
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
SACRAMENTO – A day after Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said he still isn’t sure when he’ll return from left ACL surgery or if he will play this season, coach Tom Thibodeau made one thing abundantly clear about the situation: His star player is welcome anytime – even if it’s in the middle of the postseason.
Unique and challenging though it would be for a player to work his way back into the mix during the playoffs after not playing in a game for 10 months, Thibodeau said it’s a possibility.
“There’s no timetable,” he said when asked if the time could come where it’s simply too late in the season for Rose to return. “Whenever he’s ready, he’s ready and he comes back. We’ve made that clear from the beginning. We’re pleased with the progress that he’s making and we want him to be comfortable when he’s out there. Whenever he’s ready.”
To the hypothetical question of whether the 2010-11 MVP could return even if it were the first game of the playoffs, Thibodeau said, “Whenever he’s ready. There’s no timetable. When he feels comfortable, we’re bringing him back.”
Rose told USA Today Sports on Feb. 11 that he wouldn’t return until he’s “110 percent.” While he has been cleared to play by the team’s medical staff for quite some time and has resumed full activity for more than a month, he told ESPN’s Doris Burke on Sunday that his hamstrings were “on fire” after workouts and that he wouldn’t return until he felt normal again. He reiterated that stance with reporters on Tuesday.
“I’m just coming back when I feel normal,” Rose said. “If that’s in a couple of days, that’s great. If it’s not, I’m fine.
“I haven’t had any pressure from the organization. No one has to push me to play. My teammates have been doing great, playing hard for me. They’re out there fighting so that’s a good sign. And we’re winning games. So I’m not worried about anything right now.”
The problem for the Bulls, of course, is that they’re not winning nearly as often as they were … [For more on Coach says Derrick Rose welcome, even if it's playoffs, click here.]