There is nothing wrong with being cautious with your star player, especially when your team is still able to get the job done. After all, 80 plus games in a season is a lot of games even for a healthy player.
Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau has been careful to manage Derrick Rose‘s minutes — in the last 11 games he had played about 30 minutes a night (compare that to 35 for Pau Gasol and 40 for Jimmy Butler). And Saturday was the second night of a back-to-back for the Bulls after falling to Washington on Friday.
Derrick Rose sat out Saturday night’s Bulls win because of soreness in his knee. You know, the reason he missed eight of the Bulls first 13 games (not to mention much of the past two seasons). From Mike Singer of CSNChicago.com:
He didn’t participate in shootaround prior to the Bucks game and will see Bulls team physician Dr. Cole later on Saturday. No MRI is scheduled as of now, but coach Tom Thibodeau said that could change depending on the examination.
“He had a little bit of soreness yesterday, so just want to see where he is,” Thibodeau said ahead of Saturday’s game.
The Bulls have gone 8-3 in those 11 games since Rose became a regular part of the starting rotation. They’ve done that mostly with a stingy defense, in their last 10 games the Bulls offense has been just 20th in the NBA.
Still, with a healthy Rose — not to mention the play of Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler of late — the Bulls should be considered the team to beat in the East. They have the defense, their style of play is made for the playoffs, and Rose gives them just enough offense to make it all work. But if he’s not fully healthy the door to the East becomes wide open.