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Bulls’ Rose hints he may return next week

This news story was published on April 2, 2012.
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By K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune –

OKLAHOMA CITY — Asked directly if his injured groin will allow him to play at any point in the Bulls’ final 12 regular-season games, Derrick Rose sighed.

“I think so,” he said. “It’s up to me, so, yeah, I think I am.”

During a pregame interview with ESPN’s Ric Bucher on Sunday, Rose hinted at returning next week. And the Bulls’ injury carousel keeps spinning.

Along those lines, coach Tom Thibodeau more emphatically stated he’s the one deciding to continue holding Richard Hamilton out. Hamilton endured a rigorous three-on-three session at Saturday’s practice and said he’s ready to return from his sprained right shoulder but has no issue with Thibodeau’s decision.

“I told him I’m comfortable with whatever he wants to do — if we need to shoot more or take more hits,” Hamilton said. “(Saturday), we did a little more so it was a little sore but it was a good sore. So we’ll see. Hopefully, (Monday).”

Hamilton missed his 14th straight game Sunday.

“I just have to be convinced,” Thibodeau said. “He’s raring to go. It’s more me. He thinks he’s ready. But I just want to make sure we’re smart.”

Rose, who did some shooting pregame and continues to lift weights but do little running and face no contact, sat for the 10th straight game.

“I’m trying to loosen up the scar tissue,” Rose said. “It’s going to take me a minute to get my rhythm back. … Missing this amount of games definitely hurts. The only positive I can look at is maybe I’m getting my rest.”

Surprise starter: Thibodeau rarely alters his rotation, so a mild surprise occurred when Kyle Korver replaced Ronnie Brewer as starting shooting guard.

“I just felt that’s what was best for the team,” Thibodeau said.

The decision allowed Korver to put some offensive pressure on defensive stopper Thabo Sefolosha and Brewer to guard James Harden off the bench. Brewer is 11-35 over his last five games.

“He just said he was kicking around some different ideas,” Korver said. “I’m sure he put a lot of thought into it.”

Layups: Thibodeau served as an assistant in Minnesota and New York when Thunder coach Scott Brooks played there. “The guy has no life,” Brooks said, laughing. “Even when he was young as an assistant, he never wanted to go out to dinner with me.” Countered Thibodeau: “He’s right about (no life) — from coaching him.” … The Bulls’ streak of 86 straight games without consecutive regular-season losses will be on the line Monday night. They passed the 1984-85 Celtics for the second-longest streak in NBA history on Sunday. … Brooks on former Bulls first-round pick Sefolosha: “He’s one of the best premier defenders in basketball. Every possession is important to him. He doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he’s a big part of what we do.”

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