Tom Thibodeau opens door, then says Derrick Rose is unlikely for Friday
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org March 14, 2013 9:32PM
The facts: 9:30, Ch. 9, 1000-AM.
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:46PM
OAKLAND, Calif. — After an afternoon practice at Oracle Arena, coach Tom Thibodeau almost set off a media frenzy when he was asked about the likelihood that Derrick Rose would make his season debut Friday against the Golden State Warriors.
“We’ll see [Friday],’’ Thibodeau said. “With him, it’s just day-to-day. He had a good day [Thursday], went hard, did a lot of stuff, but we’ll see.’’
Thibodeau was asked if it was as simple as Rose letting him know, “OK, I’m good, I can go,’’ and he said, “Well, we’ll have a better idea as we go along. The big thing is his improvement and how he feels the next day, so as long as he keeps making progress. We went pretty hard [Thursday], so we’ll see where he is [Friday].’’
Rose was one of the last players off the court, working on his outside shot while the rest of his teammates were getting ready for the bus ride back to San Francisco for the night.
When warned that his open-ended answers would ignite a fuse of speculation, Thibodeau tried to clear things up.
“It hasn’t changed,’’ Thibodeau said. “It could be in a couple of days; it could be in a week. I don’t know when it is; he doesn’t know when it is. As I said to you guys [Wednesday], I think he was very forthcoming with [the media]. That’s where he is. He’s got to feel real comfortable; he’s got to feel the explosion is there. He’s made great progress, and we don’t know when that time is.
“I think we’ll have a better idea the more we see him go. Like [Thursday], he was good, but it doesn’t mean he’s playing [Friday]. It doesn’t mean he’s not playing [Friday]. We just have to keep being patient, let him work through it. Each day he feels a little better, and that’s all we’re worried about. He’s controlled everything he can. He puts everything he has into each and every day, and when he’s ready, he’ll let us know.’’
Rose was in the locker room with injured teammates Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson during the 121-79 loss Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, the worst loss of the Thibodeau era.
But even that embarrassment isn’t going to persuade Rose to return before he feels mentally ready.
“Here’s the thing: This guy is well-prepared for this,’’ Thibodeau said. “He’s handled his part great. He’s not going to be influenced by anything except when he’s ready, and that part is clear.
“As he told [the media in Los Angeles], he doesn’t know. I think he’s got to have a few days where he feels really good about where he is, and it’s not that he doesn’t feel really good, but he’s not quite there yet. We’ll know when he gets there. I will say this: It’s unlikely that he plays [Friday]. Just so we clear that up. Nothing has changed.’’
Well, one thing has changed. Hinrich, who has been dealing with a stress reaction in his right foot, deemed himself a likely go against the Warriors, as long as there were no setbacks before the game.
“I kind of have to see how my foot reacts to all the movement,’’ Hinrich said. “If I don’t have a setback between [Thursday] and [Friday], swelling or anything, I’m going to try to play.’’