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Noah confident Rose will be back

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Updated: March 15, 2013 1:43PM



BOSTON — Center Joakim Noah wasn’t going to get caught up in the tenebrous atmosphere suddenly surrounding “The Return’’ and star teammate Derrick Rose.

So even with Rose reiterating on Wednesday that he could miss the rest of the 2012-13 season as he continues rehabbing the anterior cruciate ligament he tore in his left knee last April, Noah refused to believe it.

“Nope,’’ Noah said matter-of-factly. “I think he’ll be back when he’s ready, whenever that is.’’

And, in Noah’s opinion, “whenever that is’’ will still be this season.

Considering the wall the struggling Bulls have suddenly hit going into the All-Star break, Noah and his teammates had better hope so.

With 22 turnovers in the 71-69 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Bulls have lost four of their last five games and again look like a team without a superstar. Especially a superstar who can score from inside and outside, as well as create and make everyone around him better.

Basically, that’s how best to describe Rose, who spoke in more detail about his rehab.

He has added 10-15 pounds of muscle and is taking 500-700 jumpers a day, and his hope is that when he does return, it’s Rose 2.0. Better, stronger and faster than before.

But he definitely will not be different.

The idea that he will avoid contact and look to score more from outside wasn’t even a topic for discussion.

“Nah, I’m working on my shot, but you’re not going to label me as a shooter,’’ Rose said.

“I want to be a scorer that can consistently hit a jump shot, but my game is always going to be driving.’’

Rose said he hasn’t taken a full shot to the knee in practice yet, but with five-on-five scrimmages about to start for him Monday, he’s not concerned about it.

“I know that’s going to happen; that’s the way I play,’’ Rose said. “I’m not scared of taking a hit, though, at all.’’

Injury front

Noah started against the Celtics, and even though the plantar fasciitis in his right foot is still slowing him down, he said he would participate in All-Star Weekend.

He had coach Tom Thibodeau’s blessing, as well.

“Jo will do what’s right,’’ Thibodeau said.

“Obviously if he can play, he should play. We’ll take it day-by-day.’’

Meanwhile, guard Kirk Hinrich stayed in Chicago because of the infection in his right elbow, but Thibodeau expected him back for the game in New Orleans next week.



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