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Bulls GM Gar Forman backs Tom Thibodeau’s decision about Derrick Rose

Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Derrick Rose’s torn ACL was freak-type injury thcould’ve happened any point game Saturday. |

Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Derrick Rose’s torn ACL was a freak-type injury that could’ve happened at any point in the game Saturday. | AP

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Updated: June 1, 2012 8:13AM

You have to hand it to Bulls general manager Gar Forman.

After all, it’s not easy to take a topic that reeks of the obvious and come off sounding like it somehow snuck up on you.

Almost 24 hours after the most valuable left knee in the Chicago sports landscape blew out, Forman not only defended coach Tom Thibodeau on Sunday but almost seemed confused that he had to.

“Actually, it never entered my mind,’’ Forman said when asked if he was shocked by how public opinion was blaming Thibodeau for Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter Saturday. “Again, it’s not … I was actually surprised when I heard it. It’s absolutely no issue with us, and I don’t see where it would be with anybody. You’re in a playoff game where a lead has been cut by eight or 10 points, it’s a key time of the year, and you’re trying to finish strong and win the game.’’

Forman also was asked if he remained in Thibodeau’s corner, and he didn’t hesitate in going to bat for him.

“There’s absolutely no issue there,’’ Forman said. “It’s a playoff game. They cut the lead down to 12, and we’re going to have our guys on the floor to make sure that we win the basketball game, especially in that type of situation. So absolutely no issue at all from our standpoint.

“And I want to address this, as well. I’ve said it throughout the year, but I want to say it again: Obviously Tom is a terrific, terrific coach and does a lot of things well, but one of the very best things he does is pace our team. Knowing when to put the pedal to the metal and knowing when to back off. I think he’s shown that in how he’s paced our team the last several years. When it’s time to go hard in practice, when it’s not time to go hard and when it’s time to give guys days off. It’s one of the biggest strengths he has as a coach. We felt again that our guys were ready at that point of the season.’’

Forman went on to call it a freak-type injury that could’ve happened at any point in the game, and it was absolutely the right stance to take.

This comes down to fans who are distraught over what they perceive as the death of a season. Their natural reaction is to blame someone, even if that someone has proved to be an elite coach after only two seasons.

But a freak-type injury is exactly what it was. The plan all along has been to have the legs to beat the Miami Heat, and with all the time Rose had missed, he just didn’t have the legs or stamina yet to make that a reality. The first few rounds of the playoffs were supposed to be the remedy to that. Now the lingering thought is they will just be a sad reminder of what could’ve been.

Thibodeau still defended the decision and understood why it had become a hot-button issue throughout the city, from the newspapers, to talk radio, to the local barbershops.

“That goes with the territory,’’ Thibodeau said. “Everyone has a job to do; I understand that part of it. So you try to make the best decisions for the team.’’

Which he did, like it or not.

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