Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau believes his star player Derrick Rose is very close to full contact practice after his ACL tare back in the first round of the NBA playoffs last year against Philadelphia. But again, Thibodeau has indicated that patience is key in the process of recovery for Derrick Rose.
"It’s not going to be one or two days of contact and he’s going to be out there," Thibodeau warned. "That’s not going to happen. Just be patient. He’s showing great patience. Everybody else has to. He has to continue to focus on his rehab. When he’s ready, whenever that is, that’s when he comes back. Our doctors have been on top of it since Day One."
The Bulls have been overperforming this season without their star player as they find themselves in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, if the playoffs started today they would take on the Brooklyn Nets who would have homecourt advantage.
Luol Deng will miss his second straight game as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Deng has stressed his hamstring is improving but it's still sore enough for Jimmy Butler to make his second career start against the Lakers.
The struggling Lakers have a new-look lineup, too. Coach Mike D'Antoni said Pau Gasol is out as the starting power forward permanently, replaced by Earl Clark. The Lakers have lost eight of 10.