BOSTON – The Bulls might not have the most talented team in the Eastern Conference, but they definitely have the best scout team.
That’s basically what Derrick Rose’s role is the remainder of the season, as he continues his road back from season-ending surgery on his right knee.
Although coach Tom Thibodeau revealed on Sunday that Rose is still not taking any contact in practice, he continued working with his teammates, and will do so even into the playoffs as a member of the second unit.
“We’ll find a way to utilize him [in practice],’’ Thibodeau said after the morning shootaround at Emerson College. “Right now he’s working more with the second unit, so that’s basically how we’re using him. But he’s done a great job with his leadership. He wants to help in any way he can, so it’s all a plus. He’s coming along, he’s going to be fine, so we’re encouraged by his progress. Right now, we’re concentrating on what we have to do the rest of the way.’’
As far as what they are seeing from Rose so far, well, not a whole lot. Since falling to the injury on Nov. 22, there’s a lot of rust that’s built up on his game.
“He looks good,’’ forward Taj Gibson said. “He’s still working out kinks, still trying to figure out the plays that he used to know, but he looks good.’’
Gibson was asked if Rose was the best scout player he had to face, and laughed, “I faced off against a lot of good scout players, and he’s working his way back to be the best.’’
That’s what Thibodeau expects from Rose – getting back to being one of the best. And all the injury problems he’s had to overcome the last few seasons will help in that process, according to his coach.
“And when he gets past this he’ll be even stronger mentally,’’ Thibodeau said. “To overcome these things and rise above adversity like he has will only make him stronger going forward. So we’re looking forward to when he is back, but the only thing you can do is concentrate on his rehab, be a great teammate, support his teammates, and he’s done all that.’’