MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will rejoin the team for Monday night’s game in Memphis against the Grizzlies, after he was absent from the morning shootaround to attend his father’s funeral.
Thibodeau’s father, Thomas J. Thibodeau Sr., 83, died on Christmas Day, and Thibodeau flew home to New Britain, Conn., for the Sunday visitation, followed by the funeral Monday morning.
In typical Thibodeau fashion, he kept the personal news quiet, but his players knew what was going on.
“Nah, I guess he kind of kept it to himself, but he’s still a competitor and wants to win, all that good stuff, but we know what he’s feeling. So we’ll be there for him,’’ guard Jimmy Butler said, when asked if the coach had addressed the team with the news.
Butler and his teammates weren’t surprised that Thibodeau wouldn’t miss the game with the Grizzlies, either.
“No, not at all. I guess this is another thing he loves so … I don’t want to say why not, but he expects us to give our all each and every day,’’ Butler said. “I think it’s tough, I think it’s really hard to do, but I guess he’s going to find a way to do so.’’
Assistant coach Adrian Griffin ran the shootaround Monday.
NOTE: Butler (turf toe) expects to play against the Grizzlies, after feeling a lot of pain following the Saturday night loss to Dallas.
“Much better,” Butler said. “I feel like there was just a lot of pain after that game, but then the next morning I felt even better because I felt like it stretched it out and gave me a lot more flexibility in my toe. Maybe doing that little bit, even though it hurt right then and there, was better in the long run.”