The official word on the return of Derrick Rose to the Bulls has always been “after the All-Star Break.” But it’s feeling more and more like it could be a little sooner than that from the blown up ACL he had in the first game of the playoffs last season.
Here is the latest update from Tom Thibodeau before the game vs. the Lakers Monday, via my man Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com.
“[Rose is] very close. That [full-contact practices] will be the next step,” Thibodeau said with a wry smirk on his face. “It could [happen this week].
“He has to go through that for an extended amount of time. That’s not going to be, ‘Okay, one or two days of contact and he’s going to be out there. That’s not going to happen. Everyone has to be patient. He’s doing his part. He’s showing great patience. Everyone else has to,” he continued.
There is no rush because the Bulls are winning, at 24-16 they are currently the five seed in the East.
How the Bulls play — team ball, defense, passion — was a stark contrast from the Lakers and spoke to the coach and team makeup that can be undervalued in the NBA.
But Rose takes a nice Bulls team to potential contender. Whether he can do that this year remains to be seen. It may be next season before he is close to his old self.
Still it will be good to see him on the court. Hopefully soon.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.