Bulls Dismiss Key Members Of Training Staff

Bulls Dismiss Key Members Of Training Staff
Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manger Gar Forman speak with reporters following the team's last game of the season on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at the United Center. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

We knew that the offseason would bring many changes for the Bulls. And so it has begun, with two members of its training staff being dismissed from their duties today.

Director of Sports Performance Jennifer Swanson and Head Strength Coach Nick Papendieck, will no longer be the Bulls, as per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Assisting Derrick Rose during his rehabilitation from an ACL injury, the Bulls would hire Swanson to ensure their wounded star and his teammates would remain healthy, though that never completely eventuated. Despite Rose playing in 66 games this season, the Bulls couldn't escape further injuries to prominent team members, most notably Joakim Noah, who would miss 53 games in 2015-16.

Routinely injured and often undermanned, the Bulls have continually struggled to maintain a consistency with its playing personnel due to injuries, with the recently completed season being no different.

Change to the medical and training procedures was necessary, if not long overdue.

Answering for the Bulls' disappointing season at the conclusion of the last regular season game, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman warned of change, including a review of the medical staff and its practices.

Accountability was the theme of Bulls executives closing press conference, and it would appear the first step in that process has begun.


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  • This is awesome news, Jen was brought in 100% to appease Rose, hopefully this is the first sign that his reign in Chicago is over!!

    And I should point out that, as I've posted here in the comments before (probably on more than one occasion), from 2006-2015 the Bulls missed the 6th fewest games to injury among NBA teams. And a decent number of those games missed were by Rose.

  • Remember when the biggest worry of Bulls fans was that Derrick Rose was going to leave for the Lakers? So the Bulls did a clever thing by bringing Rose's people to the Bulls, or at least the person of Jen Swanson. Since then, the injury situation has only gotten worse despite Jen pissing Thibs off with doctor's notes excusing players from his grueling, 3-hour practices.

    Way past time for change: 1) In the training staff, which has done a horrible job, including the whole Luol Deng "challenge himself physically" thing (the botched spinal tap happened at Rush hospital, don't blame the Bulls), Joakim Noah, at least half the team 2) In the organization catering to one Derrick Rose.

    So not only might the Bulls be healthier moving forward, but they're no longer going to be Rose-centric and of course, perhaps they're moving away from Rose altogether, which would be the best thing for all parties at this point.

    So while it isn't the firing we want to see, it's still a good firing, still progress.

  • Well considering we lead the league by a wide margin in games lost to injury over the last decade I doubt the problem is only in the strength training dept. I would say the medical staff has to go. These are the guys that couldn't even tell Loul Deng was actually injured.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Did you not read my post?

    "And I should point out that, as I've posted here in the comments before (probably on more than one occasion), from 2006-2015 the Bulls missed the 6th fewest games to injury among NBA teams. And a decent number of those games missed were by Rose."

    Not only do we not "lead the league by a wide margin in games lost to injury over the last decade", heading into this season we had missed the 6th-fewest games to injury over the last decade.



    Ever since Derrick Rose crumpled to the floor in the 2012 NBA Playoffs with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the Bulls have been associated with injury. However, the reoccurring problems of Rose and their impact of his absence may have skewed the public perception of a medical staff that has performed admirably over the past 10 seasons. Former athletic trainer Fred Tedeschi and current AT Jeff Tanaka have led a group that has the sixth fewest games lost to injury since the 2005-06 season. The 2013-14 campaign was particularly impressive as Chicago finished the year with just 118 totals games despite Rose sitting for 72 games due to meniscus surgery.


  • Just for fun, here are a couple of fans' quotes in response to the recent coaching change:

    "The owner obviously cares more about who he likes than winning."

    "[The GM] is the problem!!!!!! Not too hard to figure out."

    These quotes are from fans of... the Houston Rockets, a team that makes the kind of big trades (Harden) and big FA signings (Dwight) that Bull fans demand. GM Daryl Morey has been lauded by Bulls fans on this blog, yet their fans say all the same things that Bulls fans say, that nearly all fans of 25-27 NBA teams say.

    I'm on record saying GarPax need to go, and I'm not defending them, just pointing out that most fans of most teams are frustrated. Championships are hard to come by and despite what the media likes to say, easy to repeat in the NBA. Once you're great, you stay great. Everyone else just cries about their owners and GMs.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Of course, trades, draft picks, coaching staff hirings and firings, all those things are subjective. And if you're not at least going to the conference finals, fans will question every move and think they could have done better.

    One can even question the moves made my the doctors and training staffs, though IMHO it seems kind of silly since 99.9% of us aren't doctors who would be qualified to diagnose/treat injuries even if they had examined the player and seen the x-ray/MRI.

    But one thing nobody can argue is that the Bulls have missed fewer games to injury over the last decade than all but 5 other NBA teams. "Number of games missed due to injury" is a simple, documented fact, and the Bulls have performed at an elite level in that category.

  • In reply to Bullsville:

    how about over the past 5 seasons, or since Rose first injured himself (during the strike shortened season following his MVP), seems like we've been less fortunate over that timespan. Obviously, as fans we are much more aware of what happens to the Bulls and not particularly aware of what's going on with the other 29 teams.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    2011-12: Bulls 102 games, league average 118 games
    2012-13: Bulls 189 games, league average 143 games
    2013-14: Bulls 118 games, league average 166 games
    2014-15: Bulls 149 games, league average 156 games


    Through 62 games this season, the Bulls had missed the 7th-most games in the league due to injury.



    Even with Rose refusing to stay healthy over the last 5 seasons, the Bulls missed fewer games because of injury than the league average in 3 of the last 5 seasons.

    But you're even older than me BigWay, so I'm sure you're well aware that in general once someone forms an opinion, even cold, hard facts proving their opinion to be wrong won't make them change their opinion. C'est la vie...

  • So many Bulls fans are more realistic than those of us who respond to this column. So many of us loyal and dedicated to providing a helping hand to those not even listening or concerned about our opinions.
    I talk to Chicago fans all over America and many of us are no longer Bull's fans. We recognized 3 years ago that something was wrong with the Bull's team medical services and favoritism toward Rose and very little attention to the injuries of Deng.
    Rose got all the medical treatment and attention and got worse as a result of their respective incompetence, but we still blame Deng, Rose, and now even Noah and Gibson for getting hurt. Should we ever question our loyalty to a management team not listening to us?
    Maybe the Bulls had less injuries than other teams, but still key team members could not function on the court in a timely manner. Management with their egos have been just as ineffective as the medical staff. The owner is not listening to any of us and Chicago has the best attendance in the league, maybe all of us are wasting our time trying to help fix a money making machine that ignores us

  • In reply to penwit1:

    I hope you're joking, because there isn't a front office in any professional sport in any professional league that listens to what the fans say when it comes to deciding who to draft, who to sign as a free agent, and who to hire as doctors/trainers.

    If the Bulls did this, we wouldn't be having any Rose vs Butler discussions, because the majority of fans wanted to draft Marshon freaking Brooks instead of Butler. DeJuan Blair instead of Taj. There were many, many. many, many fans who wanted Beasley over Rose, and Spencer Hawes over Noah.

  • It no joke for sure, and I'm serious, maybe you should consider talking with other fans--watch the team's value decrease and the attendance also. We might as well go north to see a Bucks game and watch real basketball.

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