Derrick Rose is two games into his latest comeback. He’s played 20 minutes in each of his return games after missing the last 20 with right knee surgery. Joakim Noah has been limited to 32 minutes per game all season. But from the looks of it, both of those restrictions will be lifted next weekend when the playoffs start.
From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Not only can Rose play in fourth quarters, he also will play more than 20 minutes, likely as early as Saturday. And that 32-minute limit Joakim Noah has been on all season? That will be lifted for the postseason.
That always has been the organizational plan since the restrictions were put in place in an attempt to keep Rose and Noah, both coming off offseason knee surgery, fresher for the playoffs. Rose’s latest small meniscus tear that sidelined him for 20 games after arthroscopic surgery only added another level of conservatism for the short-term.
That Rose returned for a back-to-back set of games further underscored the less-is-more approach. The games marked the Bulls’ last back-to-back of the regular season, and such scheduling doesn’t exist during the playoffs.
After successfully navigating the roughly 20-minute outings in Orlando and Miami that featured him sitting out both fourth quarters, an upbeat Rose respectfully asked for more.
Several times this season, Thibodeau has run out of minutes for Noah before the fourth quarter hit, leaving the former Defensive Player of the Year sidelined in crunch time. All signs now point to that not being a problem in the playoffs. If Noah and Rose are able to play more minutes and be effective, the Bulls have a fighting chance against anybody.