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Derrick Rose wants to play, but he knows better

Updated: May 1, 2012 8:35AM

Coach Tom Thibodeau always tells his players to focus solely on the game at hand.

But it’s a different approach that prompted Derrick Rose to rest his injured groin for the ninth consecutive game Friday, when the Bulls played the Detroit Pistons at the United Center.

Earlier in his career, Rose might have rushed back from an injury, but he realizes the most important games are in May and June.

“It’s killing me, missing action,” Rose said. “I’m missing some good games. I’m really taking my injury into consideration, not trying to rush back, where if I come back too early, I could reinjure it. So I’m just taking my time.”

In the shootaround Friday morning, Rose was limited to a routine shooting drill and post-practice shooting with John Lucas III. He was unable to participate in any other activities.

Twice-daily treatments and pool work have been used to keep him in condition over the last two-plus weeks. Rose has begun running, but that isn’t an indication that he’s ready to return.

Rose’s game is predicated on change of direction and acceleration, which he can’t do until the injury heals.

“That’s just the way I play,” Rose said. “My speed is my entire game. If I don’t have that, I haven’t learned to play without my speed. I’m not old yet. I haven’t learned that part of the game yet.” 

Rose has been considered a game-time decision through most of March and didn’t give any indication whether he’d be ready for the game Sunday in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.

But he’d relish the opportunity to play against his friend Russell Westbrook, one of the league’s best point guards.

“Friendship is great, where our families are close,” Rose said. “We’re definitely close. It would hurt me not to play that game.

“But if not, I know if we make it far, we’ll have a chance to play them.” 

There hasn’t been much transparency regarding injuries this season, but Thibodeau has been clear that he requires players to participate in contact drills before their return.

Until then, Lucas has done his part to keep Rose satisfied with the Bulls’ play.

“We already know that he can put big numbers up on the board,” Rose said. “Just leading and controlling the game. Knows when to shoot, when to pass, making plays.”

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