Do we knee-d to worry? Not yet.

It's never a good sign when the biggest story of the weekend comes down to who doesn't play in a game. Such it the case with Derrick Rose after he sat out with left knee soreness, perhaps amongst the scarier vague reasons he could sit out.

For his part, Rose said he could have played.

"I know I'm going to be ready for the regular season," Rose said late Saturday. "I could've played, but the front office made the decision to sit me out. I was fine with it."

The front office has certainly been conservative with Rose as he's had multiple days off in practice and is now sitting out a game. The left knee soreness is simply part of the process. A part that Brian Cole predicted would come and take playing in games to get through.

That was one of the reasons many wanted him to come back last season. His doctor had said early on, the final part of the healing process is getting back into games and putting game pressure on the knee. Rose now has to do that during camp and the initial part of the regular season this year instead of at the tail end of last season.

Of course, if he did play last year, it could have also gone poorly for him. We'll never know whether it would have helped or hurt Rose individually, nor will we ever know if it would have made any difference in the Bulls post season [okay, this we probably do know that it likely wouldn't have. The Bulls may have picked up another game, but weren't getting past Miami without Deng and Hinrich even if Rose was back, not enough depth].

Now, we just feel queasy about the knee. The collective fear of Bulls nation rises with every missed practice or 20lb bag of ice draped over his knees after a game. Every little thing that could happen to any player without much of a second thought becomes magnified and scarier with Derrick Rose.

Almost all players ice their knees after games. Even the ones experiencing no knee problems at all. Missing a preseason game with 'soreness' is about as rare as breathing for veteran NBA players. Being in a special location doesn't mean much either. Look at the lineup the Memphis Grizzlies trotted out in St. Louis.

In the end, this is preseason, and the good news is that the team is being overly cautious. No need to press the issue here and no need to panic. It may take Derrick a few months to get comfortable with his knee in game action. Maybe he'll miss a game here and there in November or December. However, the Bulls need to keep an eye on May.

It's not where they start, it's where they finish. The same goes for Joakim Noah who's missed all three preseason games. Chicago needs a healthy Joakim down the stretch, not a guy run into the ground into the regular season fighting for an extra three wins. So far, everything points to the Bulls taking this approach seriously.

Instead of worrying about Rose missing a meaningless game now, let's worry about whether the Bulls can continue a conservative approach once the games count.

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  • Doug, I completely agree with you. This season is about the end-game, not winning another regular season title and limp into the playoffs.

    I've always been in the "take your time camp" and though the doctors indicated he was ready physically, I don't think he'd be in attack mode if he came back late last season. To me, that was the mental obstacle for him which I think he overcame the first few times he went at Hibbert. On a side note, I've read that during that game Hibbert would tap Rose to let him know where the screen will be coming from...nice gamesmanship there.

  • i agree in pacing the key players and playing more of the bench but I can understand thibodeau's lack of faith in some of the bench. Did anyone watch how horrible the bench was on offense with snell and murphy bricking up shots and teague making some bonehead james johnson like mistakes out there. I don't want to be hard on the young players but this team needed a bench scorer like Nate Robinson. They should of been trading teague after the summer league when teams like the Utah Jazz had interest. Tim Hardaway Jr has looked impressive, being aggressive and scoring 16 in his debut preseason game. Snell does have some nice handles but I don't see the great shooting or him using those luol deng like long arms for deflections and steals. bottom line, you can't blame thibs when the front office needs to do a better job of configuring the bench for a contending team and getting the scoring thats needed on that second unit so thibs is not forced to play his starters extended minutes.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    You make some good points but Thibs rode his starters hard even when he had the best bench in the league. I know I can't prevent a full year of "We need Nate Robinson" but let's try our best to move on anyways. This is still a really solid bench, one of the best in the league, you're complaining about guys 10-12 which are going to be weak on any team.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    He ran the starters into the ground every year he's been here despite having a bench which has looked good.

  • Thibs should take a page from Popovich and look at the calendar and plan to sit Rose at certain points when the risk of fatigue or soreness from overuse is high. For example the front or back end of back-to-back games, or a 4 games-in-5-days stretch, etc. Pop clearly plans for when Duncan et. al. will sit out a game, and I think he uses it to prep/develop the other players on the roster.

    Bulls can be competitive on nights without Rose, and it will be an opportunity for players like Teague to develop, and I think you get more bang for the buck, if for example Teague knows ahead of time that he's going to get more burn. He'll prepare better knowing that he'll be expected to perform on such-and-such a night. I think this tack should be taken with Deng/Snell as well, and even with /Noah

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Agree on all counts. Injuries happen mostly when you are fatigued, such as that 4th game in 5 nights. Or, in the 42nd minute played against the Sixers the ACL is a little wobbly.

    I am not a doctor, and cannot substantiate this theory in basketball, but I know it's true on the ski hill. I always try to take it easy when I feel my body has nothing left to give - the exact time when real athletes probably push themselves the hardest.

    Teague definitely needs time to develop. Teague and Snell look hopeless. At least they are young and there is hope given their current skills. We will need both when Hinrich and Deng are gone next year.

  • In reply to Granby:

    D-League Teague stinks. Tepid Tony Snell has no discernible skills that I see and he plays scared. Two wasted first round picks I would love to see the Bulls unload for future considerations just to get them off the books. They can then keep Mike James and wait for final cutdowns for a backup 2 that can play a little.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    As many of you know here, I went to UK and I am not a Teague fan. I was somewhat excited when they drafted him because of his upside, but I have not seen enough progress. Not even in the summer league. Trade him for a first if possible - even if it's 2016 or 2018. ( I would hope that the Bulls could get a future pick, but I'd be surprised if they'd get anything in the 2014 draft unless it was at the end or if they were taking back salary, which they cannot.)

    As for Snell, he his timid, but I think he can add value in a year or two. He showed he has NBA 3 pt range in the summer.

    Butler did not impress me at all in year 1, aside from good defense against Carmello and in a few other instances. I NEVER would have thought he'd do what he did last year.

    Unloading them does not help financially, because you need to fill the spot with somebody.

  • In reply to Granby:

    He is 19 and can get to the rim at will. Has all the tools to be a solid starter at some point and is playing a position that is known for being a difficult one for young non scoring PG's to pick up.

    I watched both last years preseason on this one and you would have to be blind to not see much improvement in Teagues game. I don't see any advantage to trading him now over continueing to develop him and flipping him in the last year of his rookie contract. I see a bit of Rondo to his game.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Guys in their draft range are frequently wasted picks, so it's not that big a loss even if they are. That said, there's almost no salary to unload here, so that seems silly.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Good idea, I'd like to see that too. I also agree that you can use this tactic with any of your high minute guys.

  • Slow down on all these evaluations of Snell, Murphy. Give them some time...,not 3 games.

    I didn't like Teague's game Saturday...,lot s of time with Murphy and Snell. Just too many newbies at one time. Would like to see Teague with 2 or 3 starters for a better evaluation.

    Not saying you guys are Wrong..,just saying its a bit early.

    Also, these articles floating about Utah wanting Teague and then we use James this year. We better get lots for Teague to make that trade. He's what, 20 years old. Better get lots!!!

    Comments????

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