Even with the flip of the calendar to 2016 on Friday, Derrick Rose found himself in an all too familiar role: Dressed in street clothes.
The Bulls point guard missed his second-consecutive game, dealing with tendinitis in a right hamstring that was still experiencing some soreness.
It was just the fourth regular-season game Rose has missed since the opening night tip-off, as he sat out two games on the “Circus Trip’’ back in November, on the shelf with a sprained ankle.
The downer with this latest injury, however, was the timing. Rose was actually coming off his best three-game stretch of the season, averaging 21.3 points per game and shooting 48 percent from the field. The last time he missed back-to-back games, he definitely took a step back, returning to shoot just 27 percent over his next four games.
First-year coach Fred Hoiberg didn’t anticipate a repeat of that performance, however.
“No, I don’t think so,’’ Hoiberg said. “Conditioning, he’s in a lot better spot. I mean even when he missed those couple games earlier in the year when he sprained his ankle against Indiana, he was having a great game, missed a couple, but he’s in a lot better spot right now than he was earlier in the year, especially from a conditioning standpoint. So if he does miss a couple games – he’s coming off his first back-to-back 20-point games of the season, so he’s got some confidence going right now.
“He’s going to keep working, and again, I just think that his wind is in a lot better position than he was earlier in the season.’’
With Rose again out, Hoiberg turned to veteran Kirk Hinrich to start the game against the New York Knicks.
Noah’s day coming
Joakim Noah continued to increase his basketball activity on Friday, but there was still some concerns around his return from a small tear in his left shoulder.
The big man was scheduled to be re-evaluated by doctors on Monday, and that should give the Bulls a better idea of a return date.
“Jo’s doing really well,’’ Hoiberg said. “He doesn’t have much soreness. I think the big concern right now is if he gets hit with his arm above his head, could that re-injure it? How sore is that going to be? But yeah, he’s made great progress since when he first suffered the injury.’’
Hoiberg also wasn’t sure if Noah would have to wear some sort of harness in his return, but wasn’t exactly against the idea.
“That’s a good question,’’ Hoiberg said with a laugh. “I hope so, he’d look good in a harness.’’
According to the NBA’s latest “Last Two Minute Report,’’ Jimmy Butler should have been called for a foul on the last-second lob attempt to Indiana’s Paul George on Wednesday.
Hoiberg did acknowledge there was contact, but wasn’t going to dwell on it, especially since his team got the win.
“Two guys going after the ball,’’ Hoiberg said. “Was there a little bit of contact? Yeah, there probably was. It happened, we moved on. And I’m sure Indiana has too.’’