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Chicago Bulls stars Mike Dunleavy and Pau Gasol have insisted that they do not question Derrick Rose’s commitment to the team after his recent comments.
Rose played in just 10 games in the previous two seasons after suffering serious back-to-back knee injuries, and while he appears in much better shape this year, he has again already missed a handful of games due to sprained ankles.
When asked about his mindset with his injuries earlier this week, Rose insisted that he isn’t just thinking about this year when he sits out and recovers, he considers the long-term effects the injuries will have on his life after basketball and is trying to be both careful and smart.
The 26-year-old’s team-mates insisted that they understood where he was coming from with his comments, and they don’t doubt his commitment to the organisation in the short-term.
“Look, I think that’s a fair concern for everybody,” Dunleavy said.
“It’s a big topic now in sports, especially in football with concussions and things like that. It goes the same with basketball. You know different types of injuries and things like that. There’s certainly more to life than it.
“At the end of the day, look, Derrick’s fully committed. I can speak on his behalf. He’s fully committed the way I see him working, the way I see him out there. Nobody should question that. You know it’s a little bit different viewpoint, but as far as his commitment to us, the city, the team, that should never be put in question.”
Gasol echoed those sentiments despite not being around Rose for long after joining the Bulls this past summer, and insisted that every sportsman or sportswoman has those concerns but he is fully aware of how hard his team-mate works in order to be at his best on the basketball court this season.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau stressed that Rose’s comments needed to be put into context, but he reiterated his standpoint on the matter in that he believes the explosive point guard must play if he is ready to go.
“I think this: I know Derrick, and I know he wants to play,” Thibodeau said. “You have to take a look at what he’s just gone through. It’s been 2½ long years, two major injuries. So, there’s a lot going on there. When you sprain both your ankles, you have to do what you think is right.
“As I said, if he’s healthy, he should play. If he’s injured, he should sit. It’s a long time that he’s been off. He’s got to go. And I think he understands that. Derrick wants to win. We’ve got a good group. We’ve got a good opportunity. It’s on us what we do with the opportunity. And the commitment from our entire team has to be special. If we want to do something great, the effort has to be great in all areas. I’ve been around a long time. I understand you can’t shortcut this.”