PHILADELPHIA – Jimmy Butler was in street clothes for the Thursday morning shootaround trying to rest his injured right ankle, while Pau Gasol was back in Chicago, not even making the trip to Philadelphia.
Not exactly what a team in the midst of a three-game losing streak needed.
Never fear, Derrick Rose is here. Well, maybe.
Rose went through most of the shootaround, despite nursing left patellar tendinitis, but when asked if he felt the need to have to gut one out with the team short-handed, he stuck to the Rose company line when it comes to injuries.
“No. I believe in my teammates if I’m not ready to play or if I’m not able to go I’m just not going to go,’’ Rose said. “I was able to get through the whole shootaround, but my first step, as far as pushing off, it wasn’t there. Come back over here, get a lot of treatment when I get back to the hotel. Come back over here and see how it goes.’’
Rose said the injury was not serious, not even requiring an MRI, and again insisted that this season for him is all about games played, first and foremost.
“That’s all a part of the process,’’ Rose said of expecting setbacks in an 82-game season. “Coming into the season, I was just trying to play as many games as possible. Next year, that’s when I throw in my individual goals and all that, but it’s all about getting a solid season under my belt, playing hard in the playoffs whenever we get there, but along the way just being smart and really taking care of my body, and pushing my teammates to be better.’’
What wasn’t a good look for Rose in all of this was first promising playing-hard time will come in the playoffs. So the regular season is what, exactly?
Secondly, bringing up next year as the season he worries about individual goals. Coincidentally, the same season that he’s a free agent.
If Rose can’t go, Kirk Hinrich would likely start. Joakim Noah will start for Gasol, while Butler’s replacement would likely be Tony Snell against a four-win Sixers team.
While Rose might have done very little to fool people into thinking he’s anywhere close to a fox-hole player, he did have some interesting comments about coach Fred Hoiberg. Rose was asked if this was a difficult team to coach, and said, “To him I could see how it’s frustrating sometimes when we come out and play the way that we do, but as far as me being a player all I can do is control the things that are in my control. Right now it’s coming back and playing with these type of … um, playing through injuries and preparing my body for this long season. As far as with the team it’s getting everybody on the right track. We got guys coming back into the lineup like Jo. We’re missing Pau, Jimmy, we don’t know if Jimmy is going to play tonight, so it’s all about getting everybody on the right track. It seems like that’s when we’re rolling.’’
Rose was then asked if players were listening to Hoiberg, why are they so inconsistent in taking that message into the game?
“I really don’t know,’’ Rose said. “I can’t put a finger on it. I think guys are listening. We have good-hearted people here. We don’t have any knuckleheads or anything like that. It’s all about just incorporating that into the game. Everything he tells us in shootaround, and everything he tells us before the game to prep us before the game, we just gotta incorporate that into the game, but on a more consistent basis.’’