Bulls growing optimistic about Rose


Apr 3

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Derrick Rose could possibly play Thursday against the Boston Celtics, though I personally doubt he will. And there’s apparently no misunderstanding between the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau regarding the discussions on Thibodeau’s future with the team.

Those were some of the issues that Bulls General Manager Gar Forman addressed before a private team fundraising auction and dinner at the United Center Tuesday.

The current team, former players like Scottie Pippen, Tom Boerwinkle, Cliff Levingston, Will Perdue and Sidney Green, the coaching staff, management, former coaches like Johnny Bach and TV broadcast personalities like Neil Funk, Stacey King, Bill Wennington and Chuck Swirsky appeared for the festivities.

Between various functions, Forman took time out to address with reporters and some of the latest issues around the team.

Forman said Richard Hamilton came out of Monday’s game well regarding his shoulder and the team is confident he will regain his timing soon. Also, Forman said Rose went through a thorough workout with the team for the first time since his groin injury against the Knicks March 12 and showed progress. Forman said it wasn’t inconceivable Rose could play soon, but didn’t state a definite date. Rose has been telling friends he’s anxious to go immediately.

Derrick Rose

But given the caution the Bulls have observed with what Forman called a severe groin injury — I heard the term abductor strain used and Rose has mentioned bleeding — it’s difficult to imagine Rose in his first game back in a month going against the swift Rajon Rondo. You’d think the Bulls might wait until Sunday or back home Tuesday against the Knicks and Baron Davis, who often uses a cane to walk during games.

“It was a pretty serious injury,” Forman acknowledged, though we sort of all figured that out by now. “He has made progress and continues to make progress. He has not hit any snags along the way, which is good. Today (Tuesday) he went through a full basketball workout. It was his first day on the floor going full speed as far as a basketball workout, running, shooting. No contact, but he seemed to do well. He was going full out for close to an hour. That was encouraging. So we’ll see how he feels tomorrow (Wednesday). We’ll see how he does in practice and then evaluate it. But we want to make sure he’s as close as possible to 100 percent before he is back playing. Assuming he goes through all this OK it’s an opportunity to be back soon.”

Forman said the team is encouraged everyone will be back at full health and with a regular rotation soon, perhaps in a week or so.

Forman also was asked about an ESPN story from last week that coach Tom Thibodeau was “dismayed” about a lack of progress on contract talks. Thibodeau dismissed the report after the Pistons game Friday. And Tuesday Forman questioned the accuracy given the team and Thibodeau actually have talked about an extension. The Bulls, and not Thibodeau, actually initiated the talks, Forman said.

“This is a complete non-issue,” said Forman. “Who knows where that story came from. We approached Tom in the fall (during the lockout) about a contract extension. We had a number of positive talks and then the season came. We were obviously busy with the season, so both sides agreed to table it and resume the talks after the season. That’s why this was such a surprise to all of us.

“Look,” said Forman. “We want Tom to be the coach of the Bulls. Tom wants to be the coach of the Bulls. You have two sides with similar objectives. So you would think something is going to get done. You’ve got two sides wanting the same thing and Jerry (owner Reinsdorf) always has been fair.”

Perhaps too fair in some cases, as when Vinny Del Negro asked for a two-year contract, Reinsdorf offered three. And when Scott Skiles was fired, he had an offset in his contract. That meant if he took another job, which he did in Milwaukee, he’d have to pay back the Bulls. The Bulls waived the offset so Skiles could collect his full salary from the Bucks, which is rarely done in the NBA. Plus, Phil Jackson worked off a series of contacts with the Bulls and Reinsdorf paid Tim Floyd his entire contract, more than two more years, even after he resigned.

Tom Thibodeau

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