ATLANTA – Derrick Rose is no stranger to defiantly doubling down on less than popular comments to come out of his mouth.
Prior to Friday’s 103-88 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, he went all in.
Missing his second-consecutive game with right hamstring tendinitis, Rose again reiterated that all decisions concerning his health, as well as whether he feels good enough to play, are his, and his alone, referring to it as “a process.’’
“I already put into my mind that it’s a long year,’’ Rose said. “All I can do is work on my body, control what I can control, and all the other stuff is out of my hands.
“Like I said in the beginning of the year that it was a process and can’t lose sight of it.’’
He was then asked if that mindset would change come the playoffs when it’s win or go home time.
“Nah. If I can’t play I’m not going to play,’’ Rose said. “It’s a process, like I said.’’
A “process’’ that seems hard to swallow considering Rose is the highest-paid player on the roster. A “process’’ that seems difficult to embrace when a guy like Taj Gibson was playing with torn ligaments in his ankle most of last year and Joakim Noah was playing with a left knee that was bone-on-bone.
But this all gets filed in the same category as Rose’s “meetings and graduation’’ comments from last season, where the point guard once again comes across as a player that is more concerned with what benefits him and his next payday over anything else. Definitely over the idea of sacrificing whatever it takes to win a championship.
Fred Hoiberg was asked about Rose’s latest comments, and did his best to say the right things.
“Look, I trust Derrick,’’ Hoiberg said. “I had a one-on-one talk with him before he came into my office before the last game, before we played Washington, and he talked about the pain that he had. He talked about you know, not being able to play his game, being cautious out there, and that’s when I think when you’re not going full speed and you’re thinking, is when major, serious injuries happen.
“I know he wants to play, I know he wants to be out there. His teammates want him out there. But at this time with his leg feeling the way it is, we all feel it’s best that he doesn’t play.’’
As far as if Hoiberg would tolerate that mentality come playoff time from Rose, especially considering how a heart condition ended Hoiberg’s playing career before he was ready to walk away from the game, the coach said, “I guess we’ll cross that bridge when, and if, it happens. But we’re confident that get Derrick through this stretch and we’ll have him healthy for the playoffs.’’
If they can get into the playoffs that is.
The loss dropped the Bulls to 30-27 and into that last playoff spot, ending a three-game winning streak, as Doug McDermott led them in scoring with 20 points.
“Right from the beginning [the Hawks] outmuscled us,’’ Hoiberg said. “I don’t get it. We had three good games, we made a lot of progress, and we took a step back [Friday].’’