Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
Reporters recently asked Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau when Derrick Rose will return to the floor, but Thibs did his best to dodge the issue.
Chicago Bulls fans are getting restless. Nate Robinson and Kirk Hinrich are no substitute for former league MVP Derrick Rose, and nobody will really know whether this team is good enough to invest in until Rose gets back on the hardwood and tests his knee. Everyone who follows the Bulls is desperate to know when Derrick Rose is set to return. Tom Thibodeau has no interest in such inquiries.
If you're looking for a timetable or a specific date, Thibodeau is decidedly not your go-to guy for such information (via ESPN Chicago):
"Here's the thing," Thibodeau said. "Derrick missed half the season last year so we got used to playing without him last year. He hasn't been here all this year so the guys that are here have done a great job of concentrating on their improvement, our next opponent, and being ready to play.
"Derrick is concentrating on his rehab and at some point he'll join the team. But we can't be looking to Derrick for our motivation. Derrick's taking care of what he has to take care of and the guys in that locker room have to take care of what they need to take care of. And we got to keep concentrating on our improvement. That's the big challenge for us."
On the bright side, he didn't use the "game-time decision" magic trick he abused with Rose so often last season.
The Bulls (12-9) currently sit atop the Central Division in the Eastern Conference, and they hold the No. 4 seed in the playoff bracket. Thibs has done an excellent job keeping the Bulls in position to fight for a top playoff spot when Rose does eventually come back, but the mid-February and early-March estimates thrown around over the summer are still some of the best guesses as to when No. 1 will see the floor during an NBA game.