Taj Gibson predicts that Derrick Rose will silence his critics when he returns
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org May 16, 2013 9:35PM
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Updated: May 17, 2013 1:08PM
Taj Gibson still is getting ripped by Bulls fans for his ejection in Game 2 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
So the reserve power forward couldn’t even imagine what venom has built up toward Derrick Rose, who missed the season while recovering from surgery to his left knee.
“That’s what comes with the job we do,’’ Gibson said Thursday, one day after the Bulls’ postseason came to an end in Miami. “I’m still recovering from the Game 2 [ejection]. I still have fans basically ripping me to shreds. But you just have to take it with a grain of salt, keep pushing.
“You’ve got a lot of people who want you to do certain things at a certain time that you [don’t] feel is right for yourself.’’
Besides, Gibson has been around long enough to know that once Rose steps on the court next season and scores his first few baskets, all will be forgiven. That’s the nature of sports fans.
“Once he goes on the court, it’s just basketball,’’ Gibson said. “That’s what he loves to do. That’s the reason he’s in the NBA, to play basketball.
“He’ll be great after a long summer, just playing and competing the way I know he’s capable of doing. He’ll be fine.’’
Rose wasn’t at the Berto Center with the rest of his teammates on locker-cleaning day. He and Joakim Noah chose to stay in Miami for a few extra days.
Rose had better enjoy it because the Bulls expect a lot of work to continue this summer. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Wednesday that the organization had plans for Rose’s offseason workouts, like it or not.
He didn’t elaborate on specifics, and he wasn’t going to show his hand Thursday, either.
“He’ll be coming back here,’’ Thibodeau said. “We’ll go out there. But I think it’s important.’’
That’s because Thibodeau not only expects Rose to be ready for the start of next season, he expects a better version of him.
The bar also has been raised in the eyes of the fans. Cleared by team doctors two months ago, Rose was able to compete at a high level in 5-on-5 scrimmages with his teammates. Gibson even referred to his moves on the court as a return to the “Matrix.’’
“He looked just like his old self at some points in the practices,’’ Gibson said. “After the summer and the guys get back together after working out, he will be even better.’’
Thibodeau reiterated that while Rose showed encouraging signs, he never felt completely comfortable with the knee. The team already shot down any thought of a sports psychologist helping Rose over that hump. The Bulls are counting on an intense summer program to do the trick.
“The big thing was he didn’t have the comfort level that he needed to play,’’ Thibodeau said. “He wanted very badly to be out there. And he made a good decision, I think.’’
While Rose seemed immune to the criticism, so was Thibodeau.
“He had to do what he felt was right,’’ Thibodeau said. “Whether it’s praise or criticism, you can’t be impacted by that. You have to do what you feel is right. And he did that.’’