Coach Thibodeau and team-mates are not questioning Rose’s decision to sit out.
Despite the growing calls and criticism surrounding Derrick Rose’s decision to continually prolong his comeback, Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau remains supportive of his point guard.
Following Game 5 of their opening round Playoffs series against the Brooklyn Nets in which they still lead 3-2, former Bulls guard turned commentator Steve Kerr believes Rose “owes it to his teammates” to make a return sooner rather than later.
The 24-year-old was medically cleared back in March to return from a torn ACL he suffered in last year’s post season campaign against the Philadelphia 76ers.
However, he has revealed since that he is not entirely confident of returning until he feels at least 110%, and gave no clues as to when that may be.
“I think Derrick owes it to his team-mates at this stage,” Kerr told The Carmen & Jurko Show on ESPN 1000.
“And again, I’ve been Derrick’s biggest supporter on this. I’ve been saying all along, up until two days ago, I’ve been saying, ‘He should not play if he’s not comfortable’.
“But if this is just about not being fully confident, you’ve got to go out there. I would appeal to him and say, ‘Can you give us 20 minutes?’ And if you’re Derrick, you’ve been watching [Joakim] Noah and [Kirk] Hinrich play on one leg this whole series, at what point do you start to feel sort of self-conscious and guilty about what’s unfolding?”
Albeit slightly controversial and not universally agreed with, Kerr makes some intriguing comments which he initially made during his commentary on Game 5 which the Nets won.
Noah has been struggling with plantar fasciitis throughout the playoffs thus far, taking endless pain-killing injections to contribute. Meanwhile, Hinrich sat out Game 5 with a bruised calf after playing almost 60 minutes in the triple overtime classic in Game 4.
As a result, while the rest of the roster continue to put both their health and bodies on the line, the sympathy that Rose received is slowly turning into frustration in some quarters of the city.
However, despite the calls of Kerr, coach Thibodeau remains unchanged in his opinion on the matter, as he continues to give Rose all the time he needs to fully recovery both physically and mentally.
“Derrick owes it to what’s right. And the more I’m around him, the more I’m impressed with this guy’s character. He’s not being swayed by anybody. He’s not quite there, and we made that clear to him from the beginning. We’re going to support him in every way possible. I would never question him. Ever,” he told reporters after practice on Wednesday according to ESPN.
Hinrich echoed the sentiments of his coach, saying that the team support Rose’s decision, and will continue without him. The 32-year-old is arguably a more important factor in this series than Rose, and the Bulls will be hoping he recovers in time for Game 6.