Rose misses third game, but Hamilton returns to lineup


Jan 17

Derrick Rose was sidelined by a sore left toe for a third time on Tuesday. Fortunately for the Bulls, they didn’t need him in an easy 118-97 win over the Phoenix Suns at the United Center.

While the Bulls were without the reigning NBA MVP, the team did get some good news with Rip Hamilton returning to action earlier than expected and starting at shooting guard.

In 21 minutes, Hamilton, who had missed 10 of the last 11 games with a groin injury, recorded 11 points and had six assists.

“Rip was terrific,” said Thibodeau following the game. “Not so much with his shooting, but with his playmaking. I loved the way the ball hopped; it was not sticking anywhere. It was moving freely and once we got into a rhythm, we were able to know some shots down.”

As for Rose, Thibodeau called the decision to sit him against the Suns a “collective” one.

“We gathered the information, we looked at where we are in the schedule, and we all decided that it was in the best interest of everyone to have him sit this one out,” said Thibodeau.

Rose did not participate in the team’s closed practice at the United Center late Tuesday afternoon. He previously missed the Bulls’ home game against Washington on Jan. 11, a victory, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matinee game in Memphis, a loss.

Thibodeau also said he was seeking some clarity on the injury itself—it’s been called a turf toe and a toe sprain.

“You could say it’s a sprain or a turf toe,” explained Thibodeau. “There are some similarities between the two. He’s sore and that’s the bottom line. We just want to make sure we take care of that.”

Whereas turf toe can be a potentially lingering issue, Thibodeau said Rose’s soreness is on the top of the toe, which makes it different. He added that Rose has some swelling which needs to be reduced before a course of action is determined.

As he’s said in the past, Thibodeau added that Rose is typically a quick healer who responds to treatment well.

In Rose’s absence, C.J. Watson started at point guard on Tuesday and was another bright spot. Watson fired in 15 first half points without missing a shot and finished the game with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with five assists in 33 minutes of action.

Chicago’s next game is Friday in Cleveland, meaning Rose will have had five days of rest since last playing against the visiting Raptors on Saturday.

Prior to the game, when Thibodeau, who turned 54 on Tuesday, was asked what the best birthday gift would be, he replied—perhaps predictably—“A win.”

Consider that wish granted. But what the Bulls would really like is to see Rose back to full health sooner than later.

Audio—Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau meets the media prior to his team’s game against the Phoenix Suns (01.17.2012):

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