Rose said he still hasn’t taken any hits to the knee in practice, but he’s not worried about that. His biggest concern at the moment involves one of the biggest parts of his game _ dunking. He said he can’t dunk “off stride.” Once he can, he’ll know he’s ready.
Rose’s injury isn’t the only one the Bulls have had to cope with. Just about all their top players have been banged up at some point, with Noah battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot and Kirk Hinrich sidelined by an infection in his right elbow.
“We’re short-handed,” forward Taj Gibson said. “We’ve got to come out and play every night like it’s our last night playing.”
All that might explain some of the choppy play.
The Bulls continue to rank among the best defensively, as they have since Thibodeau took over three years ago. They’re holding opponents to 43.3-percent shooting, third-lowest in the league, and rank third with a plus-2.88 rebounding margin.
But they’ve had trouble protecting the ball lately, with a season-high 22 turnovers while falling 71-69 at Boston after coughing it up 19 times in a loss to San Antonio. The 69 points against the Celtics were also a season low.
So there are certainly issues to address in the short term. And then, there’s the big one _ Rose.