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Thibs thinks Derrick Rose will return before finale

Updated: May 4, 2012 8:14AM

On Sunday, Derrick Rose said he has been trying to run but with little success because of a sore groin that has forced him to miss 11 consecutive games. Before the game Monday against the Rockets, coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose has been running.

Confused? You’re not alone. Thibodeau keeps insisting, however, that his star point guard has not suffered any setbacks.

“He’s adding on to what he’s doing each and every day,” Thibodeau said. “That’s the encouraging thing. He’s doing more and more and not having any repercussions the next day. He’s going step by step. We just have to be patient, let him work through it, and he’ll be fine.”

Rose was walking without a limp before the game, which was one sign of progress, at least.

Thibodeau said he’s confident Rose will return to the starting lineup before the regular-season finale April 26 against the Cavaliers.

“It’s a groin,” Thibodeau said. “It’s tricky. You just have to be patient and continue to do the rehab. As long as he’s making progress, that’s all we’re concerned with.”

Top coach

Thibodeau was named the Eastern Conference coach of the month for March.

He led the Bulls to a league-best 13-3 (.813) record last month, including a 6-0 road record.

The Bulls held opponents to 43 percent shooting from the field. 

Thibodeau had his 100th career victory March 19 at Orlando in his 131st game as a head coach, becoming the fastest coach in NBA history to reach 100 wins. 

“His teams play hard,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “They play well. They really defend as a unit.

‘‘They seem to be tied together very well defensively, and they go out and compete on a nightly basis and do a great job.”

Playoff tickets

The Bulls will begin selling tickets for the first two rounds of the playoffs April 13 at 11 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased at, 1-800-4NBA-TIX, the United Center and Ticketmaster.

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