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76ers coach Doug Collins expected Derrick Rose to return against his team

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau checks his notes while players from left: Joakim Noah Nate RobinsJimmy Butler Luol Deng wait

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau checks his notes while players from left: Joakim Noah, Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng wait for the whistle to resume play in the second quarter of the Chicago Bulls-Philadelphia 76ers NBA game Thursday February 28, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 1, 2013 12:26AM



Coach Doug Collins of the 76ers already had the scenario played out in his mind by the time he arrived at the United Center on Thursday night.

He was more than prepared for the drama.

“I thought [Derrick Rose] was, for sure, going to play,’’ Collins said. “Got hurt against Philadelphia, come back against Philadelphia, game on TNT. I could just see him running out with the Adidas-commercial kind of thing.’’

Rose did run out, but only to his usual pregame routine as we close in on the 10-month mark since he had surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

And even though Collins guessed wrong on Rose’s return, he understands the Bulls’ thought process.

“Well, the Chicago Bulls have a tremendous investment in Derrick Rose, and you want to make sure this young guy is ready to go,’’ Collins said. “We take a guy like [Vikings running back] Adrian Peterson, and we see this guy rehabbed [from a torn ACL], was back playing football, and you sort of expect everybody to have the same timetable.

‘‘Knees are different; every player is different; everybody’s game is different. Derrick is an explosive player. He plays in the lane. He’s landing in a lot of bodies, a lot of congestion.

“More important, he’s going to have to be very confident when he plays. [Bulls chairman] Jerry Reinsdorf and the organization are not shortsighted people. They don’t do that. They view the big picture, and they think they have a franchise that has a chance to be good for a long, long time, and Derrick Rose is going to be the guy who is going to make that special.

“I totally understand. I had knee injuries, and maybe sometimes I tried to come back, and it set me back too soon. ‘If this guy can do it in eight, I can do it in seven.’ It doesn’t work that way.’’

Hamilton out

Just before the tip-off, the Bulls announced that shooting guard Richard Hamilton was a late scratch with lower back spasms.

It was the first game Hamilton has missed since Christmas Day against the Rockets.

Hamilton had been averaging 10.2 points, 2.4 assists and 1.8 rebounds. He missed most of December when he tore the plantar fascia is his left foot.

Gibson update

Taj Gibson (sprained MCL in his left knee) missed his second consecutive game, but the hope is he could be back sooner than the original two-week timetable.



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