- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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TORONTO -- Friday night marks another case study in deciding how the Bulls will handle Derrick Rose's health this season as he makes his way back from reconstructive knee surgery. If Rose says he feels fine and he's ready to play against the Toronto Raptors, what should the Bulls do? Who will make the final call regarding whether he plays?
After missing practice the last two days, it sounded as if Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls would err on the side of caution as it pertained to Rose's status after Thursday's practice. Then Rose spoke to the media and sounded like a man who wanted to be out there and help his teammates.
"I'm just tight," Rose said. "I'm just trying to take my time. Don’t go out there and overextend myself. I haven't been practicing the last couple of days, but I know I should be ready to go [Friday]."
The Bulls have already set a precedent for this type of situation earlier in the preseason. The organization decided to sit Rose out of a preseason game in Rio when he had some knee soreness even though he said later that he could have played.
A month later, the same situation presents itself. With the first back-to-back of the season staring the Bulls in the face -- they face the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night -- why not give Rose another day off? The last thing the organization needs is for Rose to tweak the hamstring more and be out for a longer stretch.
Even if Rose says he is fine, the Bulls should just be smart about the situation and decide to give him an extra day. This is the seventh game of the season, not the 70th. There will be plenty of time for Rose to get in a rhythm with his teammates over the next few months.
What's next: The Bulls face the Toronto Raptors later tonight. Rose didn't even realize this would be the Bulls' first back-to-back of the year.
"We got back-to-back?" he said. "I didn't know that. But I should be ready, I'm not worried about that."
The last word: Thibodeau on what changes if the Bulls don't have Rose: "We've had plenty of experience. So we know what we got to do. They're a tough team, they had a great road win (Wednesday) night. We're going to have to be ready when that ball goes up."