Derrick Rose on whether Bulls are capable of finding a winning rhythm: ‘Who knows?’

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Derrick Rose made it back from the All-Star break on time this season, so there was one thing the Bulls could celebrate Tuesday.

And that gets us up-to-date on the good news for a team that stumbled into the break with four consecutive losses, a string of injuries and a fan base growing grumpier by the day.

Rose faced a steady stream of questions about what’s wrong with a 27-25 team that was expected to get a high playoffs seed this season.

‘‘It’s just that we can’t find a rhythm,’’ Rose said.

Rose then was asked whether he thinks the Bulls are capable of finding that rhythm this season.

‘‘Who knows?’’ he said. ‘‘Only time will tell.’’

That’s not the kind of answer that will satisfy frustrated fans, but that’s basically where the Bulls are these days: ‘‘Who knows?’’

Who knows whether the Bulls will make a trade before the 2 p.m. deadline Thursday? Who knows when injured Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic will be back? Who knows whether coach Fred Hoiberg will start to feel even more pressure to clean up this mess?

The more these questions get asked, the more Hoiberg appears to be on the hot seat.

‘‘I’m going to do this job to the best of my abilities, and I’m going to come to work [and] watch film,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘I spent all All-Star break watching a lot of film — our good stretches, our bad stretches — trying to figure things out to get this team on the right track. All I can control right now [is to] put this team in the best position possible to try to win games.’’

Critics have been raising their voices in recent weeks, though Hoiberg insists he is deaf to the noise.

‘‘I try to stay away from it as much as possible,’’ he said. ‘‘I haven’t looked at a social-media account in I don’t know how long. I completely put it behind me. I don’t read articles. Again, I try to prepare this team to the best of my abilities.’’

Injuries to Butler (strained left knee) and Mirotic (appendectomy, hematoma) have played a role. Hoiberg said that Butler was at least a few weeks away from exploding and cutting and that Mirotic was down 10 or 11 pounds, still was feeling pain in his abdomen and was ‘‘several weeks’’ away.

What Hoiberg couldn’t say was what the roster would look like by the time the trade deadline arrives.

Several sources said the Bulls have been active on the phones since Sunday, but talks haven’t

become serious yet. They might be looking to pull the trigger, but it’s more likely they’re trying to figure out other teams’ interest in several players for the offseason.

‘‘I know those [front-office] guys are doing their job,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘They’re calling all around the league, just like all teams do this time of year, and we’ll see what


‘‘This is the time that things get serious, the final 48 hours leading into the deadline, so we’ll see what happens. But our big thing is getting our team right, getting healthy and hopefully getting on a run here down the stretch.’’

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.


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