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Bulls heading into NBA All-Star break needing a break from Derrick Rose questions

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose works out before Bulls' NBA basketball game against Utah Jazz Friday Feb. 8 2013 Salt Lake

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose works out before the Bulls' NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) ORG XMIT: UTRB102

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Updated: February 14, 2013 10:12PM



Where will coach Tom Thibodeau be during the All-Star break?

That’s easy: “Camp Berto.’’

And considering the Derrick Rose situation, Thibodeau’s nights in his practice compound might have gotten a little longer.

Rose, who spoke to the local media after Wednesday’s loss in Boston, reiterated what he said earlier in the week in a USA Today article, bringing up the scenario in which he doesn’t return this season from ACL surgery on his left knee.

“I really don’t know,’’ Rose said. “I’m feeling good, but, like I said, if it’s where it’s taking me a long time and I’m still not feeling right, I won’t mind missing this year. . . . I’m trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible, but if I have anything lingering on, it’s no point.’’

According to a source in the organization, “we were fully prepared for’’ that scenario. But they weren’t prepared for Rose’s revelation before he had even started full five-on-five scrimmages — the final step in the rehab process — then seeing how he felt.

But even in the wake of “The Return’’ seemingly being in jeopardy, or at least on hold for a bit, “nothing has changed.’’

Off the court, the Bulls are still taking calls, and making them, as Thursday’s trade deadline approaches. Rose’s honesty hasn’t left the team in a mad scramble to add another body or lighten the payroll load.

The source said Carlos Boozer talks with the Toronto Raptors “were no longer on the table.’’

The Bulls still were weighing the immediate future of Richard Hamilton, but there isn’t a high demand for him, and there’s still the belief that they’ll need him in the playoffs.

General manager Gar Forman said in December that Hamilton was in the plans for the rest of the season, and Thibodeau is still keeping him on a minutes watch, so it’s consistent with what Forman indicated.

Thibodeau again ducked away from any trade talk, putting it on the media as something they create. But, then again, Thibodeau only seems to be concerned with what he can control, and that starts and ends on the court.

Convincing Thibodeau that “nothing has changed’’ at this point would seem to be a hard sell.

Four losses in the last five games, as well as 41 combined turnovers in the last two games, was not how Thibodeau wanted his team to enter the break.

“I think it’s important to recharge, obviously do some conditioning work while we’re all away, but just getting away for a few days will be good,’’ Thibodeau said.

The good news for the Bulls is point guard Kirk Hinrich, who has missed the last seven games with a right elbow infection, is expected up and running by Monday. As much criticism as Hinrich has received this season, the Bulls are 4-8 without him in the starting lineup, and, especially of late, the offense has looked clunky.

“We’re all on top of each other,’’ center Joakim Noah said of the offensive problems. “We have to do a better job of moving the ball. It starts there.’’

Meaning it starts with a healthy Hinrich.

And Thibodeau won’t even begin to consider the Bulls’ 30-22 record without Rose as a moral victory.

“We really haven’t done anything,’’ Thibodeau said. “Our road is not going to get easier. It’s going to get a lot tougher. We’ve been down multiple starters for a good part of the season, the entire season, so if we exhale, relax, we’re in trouble.’’



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