New Orleans Pelicans v Chicago Bulls
Updated: January 4, 2014 6:35AM
Derrick Rose stayed away from the United Center on Monday after having season-ending surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, but he has stayed in contact with coach Tom Thibodeau.
“I’ve been talking to him, yeah,’’ Thibodeau said. “He’s doing fine.’’
The more immediate concern for Thibodeau was how the rest of the Bulls have been doing in the aftermath of losing their best player. If the four road games after Rose’s injury were any indication, not very well: an embarrassing loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers, an overtime loss to what was then a one-win Jazz team, a victory against the Pistons, followed by a loss in Cleveland.
But there has been life.
Thibodeau said his players are fully aware of what it will take to move on without Rose and get back to the level they reached last season without the 2010-11 MVP.
“The strengths of the team change a little bit, but how we play, that’s not going to change,’’ Thibodeau said.
“How you practice, that can’t change. What goes into winning, that part is the same. I think we can never lose sight of the fact of how hard we have to play being short-handed.
“The challenge is you can use it as a crutch or you can use it to motivate, move forward and realize what you have to do to win.’’
For the second consecutive season, former Perspectives-MSA standout Anthony Davis was unable to play in front of his hometown crowd.
As a rookie last season, the New Orleans big man had concussion-like symptoms. Now it’s a broken hand, which will be re-evaluated Tuesday in New Orleans.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams was outspoken about the NBA concussion rules last season that kept Davis out of that game and was reminded of that this time around.
“This time, I’m just not getting fined $25,000,’’ Williams said. “That’s one of the first things he said to me when I got back in the locker room [Sunday night]. He said, ‘Two years in a row.’ He really wanted to play here. I feel bad for him.’’