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Thibodeau: Rose more determined now

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau reiterated Derrick Rose was definitely done for the season on Thursday, but Thibodeau thought Rose’s reluctance to completely rule himself out was telling of his positive attitude.

“I think one of his great strengths is his attitude,” Thibodeau said after the team’s shootaround on Thursday. “In the end, this is going to make him even stronger mentally. And that’s probably the biggest thing. I saw the way he responded with the ACL. He has an even greater determination now. And I think that’s going to serve him well.”

The Bulls declared Rose out for the season after he had surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee in late November. Rose said at a team charity event Wednesday that he wasn’t necessarily keeping the door open for playing again this season, but he wasn’t thinking about it and wouldn’t know for sure until he started running without the help of a machine.

“I'm not keeping it open,” Rose said. “I just said that right now I haven't thought about it. I can't think about it right now when I'm not running yet. When I get off the Alter-G, that's when I can say if I'm coming back or not (this year).”

Thibodeau believed Rose’s focus was where it was supposed to be.

“I mean, for him, he has to focus on rehab,” Thibodeau said. “That’s what he has done. He’s doing well. He’s a long ways away from practice, never mind the game. And you got to remember this guy has been out a long, long time. He may not even get to the practice part this year.

“The big thing for us is to make sure he’s completely healthy. And that’s all we’re focused on. The team has to focus on preparation and improvement and getting ready for the next opponent. He has to focus on rehab.”

Thibodeau still believes the Bulls made the right decision in declaring Rose out for the season when they did.

“To me, that decision was made when it first happened,” Thibodeau said. “And it’s the right decision. And that’s all I think you can do. You look at what your circumstances are. You gather the information, try to make the best decision possible. And for us right now, that’s the best decision. Let him focus on his health.”