Thibodeau: No comparing Rubio, Rose injuries
BY SETH GRUEN Sun-Times Media December 16, 2012 11:46PM
Kirk Hinrich (bruised left knee) expects to return Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
It’s rare these days when encouraging news comes out of the Bulls’ training room, but after practice Sunday, coach Tom Thibodeau said he was pleased with the progress of Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich, and he even felt comfortable enough to tout Derrick Rose’s recovery.
Thibodeau said Rose has rejoined the team in some capacity, participating in what he deemed “pre-practice” activity. That could include watching film and walk-throughs.
For the better part of the last month, Rose has been running on the Berto Center track and doing individual shooting drills with assistant coach Ron Adams. But Rose won’t sit on the bench with the team during games until his participation in practice increases.
“The focus still has to be on his rehab and the things that he needs to do,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘So he has to do a lot of things off the court still. He’s doing more and more on the court, which is encouraging. But he’s still a ways away.”
Thibodeau wouldn’t draw any comparisons between Rose and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament during the 2011-12 regular season and returned Saturday for Minnesota’s 114-106 victory over the Mavericks.
In 18 minutes, Rubio scored eight points, had nine assists and appeared fully recovered.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with Derrick because I think each guy is different and separate, but I’m happy for him,” Thibodeau said. “Ricky Rubio is a terrific player, and you hate to see anybody go down with that type of injury.
“The way medicine is today, you see guys fully recover and come back — in some cases, even better than they were before the injury. So you’ve just got to be patient. It’s an injury that takes time, and hopefully everything works out.”
On the more immediate injury front, Hinrich was a full participant in practice. He suffered a bruised left knee after banging knees with Chris Paul in the third quarter of the Bulls’ 94-89 loss Tuesday to the Clippers.
He initially thought it was a minor injury, but after getting on a plane for Philadelphia, the injury worsened.
Barring any setbacks, Hinrich expects to play Monday in Memphis.
“It just seemed like it was a normal bruised knee, and once I got on the airplane, it started bothering me all around,” Hinrich said. “The knee started swelling up. It was really swollen, and I’ve been hurting since.”
Hinrich’s return could bump rookie Marquis Teague, who has been playing well, from the regular rotation. Nate Robinson, who has started in Hinrich’s place the last two games, will go back to his role as a backup.
But Thibodeau didn’t rule out the possibility of playing three point guards, noting that Teague’s speed is an asset in certain situations.
“It’s one of his great strengths,” Thibodeau said. “His speed, his quickness. He can basically get to whatever point he wants to. Now he’s got to figure out the rest of the league, and there’s a lot of speed and quickness out there along with size.”