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Joakim Noah feels Derrick Rose will return this season for Bulls

Bulls center Joakim Noah guard Derrick Rose enjoy game from bench fourth quarter Chicago Bulls 107-75 wover ClevelCavaliers Thursday April

Bulls center Joakim Noah and guard Derrick Rose enjoy the game from the bench in the fourth quarter of the Chicago Bulls 107-75 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday April 26, 2012 at the United Center. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Time

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Updated: February 14, 2013 9:50AM



BOSTON — Joakim Noah wasn’t going to get caught up in the tenebrous feelings suddenly surrounding “The Return’’ and star teammate Derrick Rose.

So even with Rose reiterating on Wednesday night that he could in fact miss the rest of the 2012-13 season as he continues rehabbing the anterior cruciate ligament he tore in his left knee last April, Noah refused to believe it.

“Nope,’’ Noah said very matter-of-factly, when asked if he thought it was a possibility. “I think he’ll be back when he’s ready, whenever that is.’’

And in Noah’s opinion, “whenever that is,’’ is still during this season at some point.

Considering the wall the Bulls have suddenly hit going into the All-Star Break, Noah and his teammates had better hope so. With 22 turnovers in the 71-69 loss to the Celtics on Wednesday night, the Bulls have now lost four of their last five games, and again look like a team void of a superstar. Especially a superstar who can score from inside, outside, as well as create and make everyone around him better.

Basically, what best describes Rose.

Rose spoke in more details about where his rehab is as far as the basketball part of it, and in adding 10-to-15 pounds of muscle, as well as taking 500-700 jumpers a day, his hope is that when he does return, it’s Rose 2.0. Better, stronger and faster than before.

What he will not be, however, is different.

The idea that he will avoid contact a bit more and look to score from the safety that being an outside shooter provides players was not even a topic for discussion as far as the former MVP was concerned.

“Nah, I mean I’m working on my shot, but you’re not going to label me as a shooter,’’ Rose said. “I want to be a scorer that can consistently hit a jump shot, but my game is always going to be driving.’’

Rose said that he hasn’t taken a full shot to the knee in practice yet, but with five-on-five scrimmages about to start for him on Monday, he’s not concerned with it.

“I know that’s going to happen, that’s the way I play,’’ Rose said. “I’m not scared of taking a hit though, at all.’’

INJURY FRONT: Noah started against the Celtics, and even though the plantar fasciitis in his right foot is still slowing him down, said he would participate in the All-Star Weekend. He had the blessing from head coach Tom Thibodeau, as well.

“Jo will do what’s right,’’ Thibodeau said. “Obviously if he can play, he should play. We’ll take it day-by-day.’’

Meanwhile, Kirk Hinrich stayed in Chicago with the infection in his right elbow, but Thibodeau expected him back for the game in New Orleans next week.



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