ST. LOUIS – As all but promised by Tom Thibodeau the last few days, center Joakim Noah will miss the preseason game against Memphis at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis tonight.
As all that was hoped for by Thibodeau the last few days, point guard Derrick Rose won’t.
As a matter of fact, Rose continued to show absolutely no setbacks with his surgically-repaired knee after playing in his first preseason game Saturday night.
“It feels great,’’ Rose said Monday of his comeback so far this season. “I’ve been missing the game for a long time. Just being back on the floor with my teammates and just feeling healthy.’’
Basically, words that allow Thibodeau to move on to the next step in Rose’s return.
“The big thing is last year he practiced from the second half of the season, so we saw that part,’’ Thibodeau said. “And now the next step is obviously the games, and preseason games are obviously different than regular-season games. But just the speed and the explosion are back. Attacking on both ends. And then to see how he responds the next day, to get used to the grind of an NBA season, so that’s the next challenge.’’
That’s not the only challenge Thibodeau is lying down in front of his MVP point guard.
Not only does Thibodeau want Rose back to the dominant player he was before the left anterior cruciate ligament was torn, but feels like he can be even better, especially on the defensive end.
“His defense was a point of emphasis for him in training camp,’’ Thibodeau said of Rose. “He’s responded well to that challenge, we want him to be a complete player. I think he understands how important that is. He’s grown significantly in the last three years.’’
Asked if he could see Rose considered a defensive stopper one day, Thibodeau responded, “Yeah, yeah, and again it’s the same thing. It’s great balance, speed, quickness, strength, anticipation, knowledge, you knowledge is quickness. Knowing how to play people, knowing what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, a lot goes into it.’’
“He does, he does, yep,’’ Thibodeau said, when asked if he imagined Rose having All-Defensive Team potential.
Other news from the shootaround:
–Besides Noah [groin], Thibodeau said everyone was healthy and would be available to play against the Grizzlies.
–Noah has confirmed that he is officially under the Adidas label now, after wearing Le Coq Sportif shoes since coming into the league. There has been no correlation between his old shoes and the plantar fasciitis that has hampered him the last few seasons, but Noah obviously felt it was time for a change.
“Yeah, I’m really excited about joining that brand,’’ Noah said. “It’s a great opportunity. I’m so happy to be part of it.’’
As far as a possible commercial with Rose, who is a pillar in the Adidas brand right now, there are no plans for that.