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Bulls forward Vladimir Radmanovic must catch up physically

Samardo Samuels Vladimir Radmanovic

Samardo Samuels Vladimir Radmanovic

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Updated: November 20, 2012 11:11AM

Who knew that Vladimir Radmanovic was Serbian for Scalabrine?

At least that’s what it seems like lately with Radmanovic receiving the Brian Scalabrine treatment on the Bulls’ bench.

Radmanovic has been given few minutes in preseason and didn’t play Tuesday in the 100-94 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.

He was one of the Bulls’ first offseason acquisitions and coach Tom Thibodeau said early in camp that he had big plans for the 11-year forward, so there would seem to be something more than what’s on the surface, but Thibodeau downplayed that Thursday.

“I want to make sure he’s ready,’’ Thibodeau said. “We’ll see how it unfolds. He’s a good pro, comes in and gets his work done. He knows what he’s trying to get accomplished. I do want to see him some at the three, which I haven’t done yet, but I have a pretty good idea of what he could do.’’

It’s the “make sure he’s ready’’ part that seems to be the key. Radmanovic admitted that Camp Thibodeau is a lot more work than advertised, and he might need to play catch-up physically before those minutes are given.

“I heard a little bit about Coach when I was coming here,’’ Radmanovic said. “I didn’t hear enough, but he’s a hard worker, and he’s pushing us basically to the limits. It’s a little exhausting, but hopefully it’s going to pay off. He’s proved the last couple of years that it works, so we can’t say anything about it.

“The older you get, you get wiser, obviously. But your body is not ­responding as it used to, so you have to take care of your body a ­little bit more. That’s the thing I have to work on.’’

And just because Radmanovic isn’t a factor off the bench or in a normal rotation now doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. Thibodeau is no stranger to using guys more often as the season goes on, especially if those players earn his trust.

It seems Radmanovic is still trying to do that.

“You need your whole bench,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the versatility of the previous teams. Guys like John Lucas, Kurt Thomas, they weren’t in the regular rotation at the start but ended up playing a lot because of the different injuries that occurred. So we have a lot of versatility that we’re trying to ­figure out. We’ll go from there.’’

Radmanovic decided to join the Bulls with the hope of chasing down a ring. So if that means a lot of sitting and towel-waving until his number is called, so be it.

“I don’t take anything personal,’’ Radmanovic said. “Obviously it’s easier when you play big minutes. You can get in a rhythm and get your game going. But it’s not about me; it’s about the team. Whatever the team needs, I will try to provide it, and it’s Coach’s job [to decide] who is going to play.’’

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