On the move with Rose and the Bulls in London


Oct 4

By Adam Fluck

LONDON—It wasn’t quite midnight local time on the team’s flight to London, but that didn’t stop the Bulls’ rookies—James Johnson andTaj Gibson—from leading an inspiring rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Derrick Rose, who turned 21 on Sunday.

Rose_091004 “I don’t really like that stuff,” said Rose, almost sheepishly. “But the rookies have to do those kinds of things. I took it in and got a good laugh out of it.”

Speaking of that, now being a seasoned second-year veteran, does Rose partake in a little rookie hazing from time to time?

“No, no, I take it easy on them,” he said. “But Brad [Miller] and some of those other veterans are having some fun. I just watch it and am thankful that I’m not in those shoes this year.”

Back to his birthday—how did the Bulls point guard spend his 21st? Well, let’s just say he didn’t head directly to the nearest pub for fish and chips and a few pints upon arrival at Heathrow Airport.

After the seven-hour flight and an early morning arrival, the team checked in to its hotel in London’s Canary Wharf and went directly to the O2 arena, where an hour and a half practice was held.

Neither John Salmons, who is home in Chicago with his wife awaiting the birth of their second child, or Aaron Gray, sidelined for up to two months with a stress fracture, made the trip. Rose was sidelined from the workout with pain in his heel, and Tyrus Thomas sat as well on Sunday.

“My tendons in my heel are very sore, and [members of the Bulls staff] are just telling me to take my time and let it heal, so that’s what I’m doing right now,” said Rose.

Does he expect to play in Tuesday’s exhibition against Deron Williams and the Jazz?

“Right now, it’s too early to tell,” he said. “But I didn’t fly all the way over here to not be able to play. Whatever the team wants me to do, I’ll do.”

Practice was just the beginning of a jam packed day for Rose, who also made his way to an NBA Cares event at Clapham Common, a parkland situated on London’s south side. Joining him were Lindsey Hunter and Randy Brown for the early portion of the afternoon, while Tyrus Thomas and Jannero Pargo arrived for festivities later in the day, and Luol Deng made his appearance after attending the Arsenal Football Club match against Blackburn at Emirates Stadium. Kirk Hinrich, Brad Miller, James Johnson and Taj Gibson were among those who took in the atmosphere with Deng in his suite.

The team ate dinner with the attending corporate sponsors along for the ride in London on Sunday night, and it’s probably a safe bet that most players retired to their rooms afterwards, as may reported little to no sleep on the Saturday night flight.

Plus, another early wake-up call awaits, with practice on the docket for 10 a.m. Visit for the Day 2 update from London on Monday, and tune in to watch the Bulls take on the Jazz on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. CT on NBA TV.

For photos from Sunday, including the team’s practice at O2 arena, scenes from the NBA Cares event, and images of some of London’s most well-known landmarks, visit now.

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