Per Kc Johnson, Derrick Rose has told friends he intends to play tonight against New Jersey. He also told friends he intended to play against the Cavaliers. Let's hope Derrick does the smart thing and rests if he's not 100%, or let's hope the Bulls take the decision out of his hands.
Injuries down the line aren't looking any better. Taj is out, and he was quoted as describing his ankle sprain as a "high ankle sprain, but there was no tear". Extrapolating that quote out, he would have a grade one high ankle sprain which still could take over a month to heal.
No one is indicating that the sprain is that bad, but high ankle sprains just don't get better in a week in my experience covering sports injuries.
Joakim Noah is a game time decision for tonight as he's also recovering from a more garden variety ankle sprain, and Luol Deng may sit out this game to rest a sprained wrist.
The Bulls have been dealt a lot of injuries, but they've been dealt with them [so far] at times where they could go with a light roster and still collect wins. Hopefully, they're healthier later on down the line.
Is the compressed injury causing more injuries? Perhaps with Lucas/Hamilton, as a strained groin could happen from not being properly conditioned, but sprained toes, ankles, wrists, and a dislocated elbow all happened from the body part being pushed into a position it's not designed to go.
Those injuries happen regardless of the length of training camp.
As for the game tonight..
Keys to the game
The Bulls have a tough decision. Do they show up for the game or just collectively rest the entire roster for a day and take a loss? I kid. I kid.
Run them off the three point line
New Jersey has a lot of shooters, and they shoot a lot of threes. They shoot them at a high percentage, so don't let them shoot them. Really, it's as simple as that. Their three point attack is more deadly than their two point attack, so don't give up the threes particularly to Anthony Marrow.
Keep the ball movement going
The Bulls have displayed incredible passing lately. They're moving the ball quickly from side to side, forcing the defense to rotate constantly. As the defense rotates, they're moving off the ball well and finding open spots on the floor.
The movement has been crisper with Derrick Rose sitting out as guys have leaned on the system more rather than standing around waiting for Rose to make something happen. The big change, to me, seemed to come after the Memphis game where the team stood around waiting for John Lucas to break everyone down.
Thibodeau must have lit a fire under everyone's ass to let them know that John Lucas is not Derrick Rose and to get their asses moving to create openings, because since then the offense has been very crisp.
Assuming Rose is back tonight, let's hope they keep the movement going because it will make things even deadlier with Rose breaking down the defense and guys creating seams with their movement.
The Nets are the worst defensive rebounding teams in the NBA, but they're one of the better offensive rebounding teams. The Bulls may be missing their two best offensive rebounders so taking advantage on that end may be difficult.
However, they'll need to be especially cognizant of boxing out and defending the defensive glass to not allow New Jersey second shot opportunities. The guards will need to work especially hard as well due to the number of long rebounds that come with New Jersey jacking up threes all over the place.
If Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson all set out could we still beat the Nets? I think the answer is yes. However, it'd become an awfully tough game.
That said, rest everyone who needs rest and take your chances. The Bulls can afford a loss more than they can afford Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, or Luol Deng reaggravating their injuries.