Thibodeau says Rose will return when he’s ready.
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has denied speculation that the anticipation surrounding star point-guard Derrick Rose’s return has disrupted his team.
The Bulls are 4-8 in February, and are coming off a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, who were without their key man Kyrie Irving. It is just their second losing month in two and a half seasons under Thibodeau.
Perhaps more worryingly though, they’ve suffered blow-out losses to the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder in that time, failing to reach the 70-point mark twice.
As a result of the slide Chicago have fallen to sixth in the Eastern Conference, and although there are no fears that they might miss out on the play-offs, Thibodeau and his team will be hoping to end this decline as quickly as possible.
Thibodeau was seen talking to Rose after practice on Wednesday, and was asked if they were discussing when he would return.
“Nope, just talking about basketball,” he told the media with a grin according to NBA.com.
“Hey, we knew going in what the circumstances were going to be this year. There was no timetable. It’s when he’s ready and we knew that going in. We can’t allow that to be an excuse for us not getting the job done. We got to get the job done.”
There was also the unwelcome distraction of comments made by Rose’s brother, Reggie, earlier this month as he questioned whether the organisation was doing enough to build a roster around his brother capable of winning a championship.
Despite the pre-game warm-ups, Rose has revealed himself that he will only return when he is at 110%. Having been rushed back into action on more than one occasion last season, only to go on and pick up another injury, he will be keen to avoid a repeat after such a serious setback.
However, for the Bulls fans, players and coach alike, the sight of Rose returning is one they can’t wait to see.