Nazr Mohammed says Bulls’ locker room has Derrick Rose’s back

SHARE Nazr Mohammed says Bulls’ locker room has Derrick Rose’s back
SHARE Nazr Mohammed says Bulls’ locker room has Derrick Rose’s back

Seven minutes.

Give or take a few seconds. That’s all one teammate said he wanted from Derrick Rose at playoff time when the topic came up over the weekend.

“We need him those final seven minutes or so of the fourth quarter,’’ the player said. “We have enough talent to get a playoff game to that point, but he’s a closer. He just knows how to finish games. It’s an art.’’

And the players want their virtuoso back.

That’s why there was no rolling of the eyes after Rose spoke to the media Monday and basically dismissed the organization’s four- to six-week timetable for his return after surgery on his right meniscus Feb. 27.

“No, because we all know what four to six weeks means,’’ center Nazr Mohammed said late Monday when asked if the Rose drama was getting irritating. “Four to six weeks is for the average person who is not going to play professional basketball, professional football, who isn’t playing professional anything. We know that as bad as [Rose] wants to play, he’s going to get out there when he feels his body is able to help us.

“It’s crazy how every injury is four to six weeks, six to eight weeks. Guys know that, so a timetable is a timetable. You can try to get back then, but at the same time, you have to listen to your body.’’

And no one is a bigger proponent than Rose when it comes to listening to your body.

“That’s the smartest thing about being patient with everything that I’m doing — paying attention to my body, paying attention to details every day,’’ Rose said on Monday. “Even on the days I have setbacks, just learn from them and see how it can make me a better athlete.’’

That’s Rose’s big picture. The NBA’s big picture, however, is this: Has coddling players with minutes restrictions and extended days off actually led to a softer athlete and more injuries?

As coach Tom Thibodeau often says, “There’s no science on the subject.’’

He took that a step further.

“There’s probably more attention on it now than there was then, but injuries have always been a part of the league,’’ Thibodeau said when asked if the NBA player was losing his toughness. ‘‘I guess maybe because of the attention that’s on it, you think about it differently.’’

Mohammed, however, said the increased injuries fall on the player.

“When I first got in the league, guys took the summer off,’’ Mohammed said. “They used that time off to rest and used training camp as a way to get into shape. Nowadays, you have a lot of these guys who train hard in the summer, and they’re not giving their bodies any chance to rest. That’s a direct correlation.

“I’m a firm believer that basketball does nothing but beat up your body, whether you’re jumping, running, dunking. All the hardwood is going to beat you up, so you’ve got to do different things in the summer. I know I do all kinds of things to get in shape and stay away from the court. All that torque on your body, I mean, some of these guys are working out on the court five days a week. Cutting, training, that’s too much in the summer.”

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops

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