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Carmelo Anthony defends Derrick Rose’s decision not to rush return

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Updated: May 13, 2013 6:43AM



It would have been easier for the Bulls organization to have informed the masses at the start of the season that “Derrick Rose will be out for the year, so let’s end all that hope right now.’’

Coach Tom Thibodeau admitted as much on Thursday.

That would have ended all the speculation, the conspiracy theories, the daily Rose questions.

But as Thibodeau pointed out, it also would have been a lie from the organization.

“They were just being forthright,’’ Thibodeau said. “That’s what everyone thought. We didn’t know, and we still don’t know. We were just being honest. Obviously, you can look back and say that now, but we never felt that way. We knew it was the type of injury that takes time, so you just want to do what you feel is right and we feel like we’ve done that.

“He’s close, but he’s not quite ready and we don’t want him out there until he’s completely comfortable. I know everyone is anxious to see him play, and we certainly want him back, but we don’t want him back until he’s completely ready to be back. So we all have to be ­patient, and you just make the best of your circumstances whatever they are and just get ready to play. That’s all we can do.’’

Rose suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee on Apr. 28, and the original timetable for a return from surgery in May was eight to 12 months.

Adding to the anxiety of his absence from the lineup is that New York Knicks forward Iman Shumpert suffered the same injury on the same day, and has been playing since Jan. 17. There was some initial rust, but since March, Shumpert’s play has been solid.

That was again a hot topic for discussion, especially with the Knicks in town. And while there was an attempt to make that comparison, Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony defended Rose and his ­decision to take his time.

“I wish y’all would stop rushing Derrick back,” Anthony told reporters. “Please. He shouldn’t come back until he’s about 110 percent ready. I don’t think he should come back if he’s not ready to play.

“If he can’t compete at a high level, then what’s a couple more months going to do? What’s two more months going to do? I don’t think he should come back and that’s just my opinion. … And nobody really knows on the outside what he’s really going through, what his body is going through. So until he’s 100 percent right, I would hope he would sit out.’’

He did against the Knicks, while Shumpert started.

“Everybody is different, and Shumpert has done a great job for them,’’ Thibodeau said. “The thing that Derrick has done, and this part you guys don’t see, is Derrick has put a ton into his rehab. He really has. He gives you maximum effort every day. There’s nothing more he could really do. Once he feels ready, he’ll go. That’s where it is.’’

And that’s where it might stay the rest of the season, although Thibodeau didn’t close the door on anything.

“We knew this would be a possibility all along,” he said. “We didn’t know when he would come back, other than, as I mentioned [Tuesday], [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] made it very clear how we were going to approach it and I ­believe it is the right approach.’’



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