Derrick Rose meets with teammates
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org April 30, 2012 10:22PM
Updated: June 2, 2012 8:15AM
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Derrick Rose is in good spirits, but he didn’t know whether Rose would attend Game 2 of the Bulls’ first-round playoff series against the 76ers on Tuesday at the United Center.
“You want him to be around,” Thibodeau said. “He needs to take as much time as he needs. I don’t think he’ll be able to travel, but he’ll be around. He wants to be around. As soon as he can be here, he’ll be here.”
Thibodeau said the schedule for Rose’s surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee will be clearer later in the week.
In the meantime, Thibodeau has been busy fielding calls from well- wishers, including several NBA coaches.
“People have a lot of respect for Derrick not only because of his greatness as a player, but how he carries himself, how he represents the league, how he represents the game,” Thibodeau said. “A lot of people are reaching out and want me to deliver a message to him.”
Rose met with his teammates Monday after arriving at the Bulls’ training facility on crutches. He didn’t address the media. Kyle Korver said he wasn’t sure what to say to Rose.
“What do you say to the guy?” Korver asked. “He’s had everyone say they’re sorry 1,000 times. He’s handling it well. It’s a tough thing. He seemed like he was doing pretty well.”
Thibodeau said he expects Rose to attack his rehabilitation like he does everything else.
“Derrick is a fierce competitor,” Thibodeau said. “He’ll approach his rehab the same way he approaches the game. I’m extremely confident he’ll come back, and when he does come back, he’ll be better than ever.”
Korver posted an eloquent message to fans on his Facebook page after the game Saturday. He said it was his brother Clayton’s idea.
“We need them now more than ever,” Korver said. “We need that positive energy. Our goal is to still win a championship. We’re going to need them more than ever.”
Fans are encouraged to wear red to Game 2.
“You can’t rely on your fans to get it done for you,” Thibodeau said. “We have to give them something to cheer about. We have to play well. We’re more than capable of playing well. Everyone has to do their job. That’s the most important thing.”
Having Korver and Rip Hamilton on the floor together is one of the combinations Thibodeau might use with Rose out. Don’t be surprised to see John Lucas III and C.J. Watson playing together in the backcourt if a favorable matchup presents itself.
“Depending on the matchups, we’ll see how it works out,” Thibodeau said. “We have a lot of versatility with the lineup. We can go small; we can go big; we can play the two point guards together.”
Korver didn’t practice with the team Monday because of what Thibodeau described as “maintenance,” but he’s expected to play in Game 2.
Korver sat out the regular-season finale for the same reason. He made five of eight shots and had 11 points in Game 1.