DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose was officially ruled out of Game 3 of their playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, but coach Tom Thibodeau still refuses to shut the door on a possible return this season.
"We've said this all along," Thibodeau said. "If he's ready to come back, he's coming back. And that's no matter when it is. So if it's a week from now, great. If it's not, then that's fine too. We just got to keep moving forward."
Rose has been on the bench for Games 1 and 2 in this series, and it's clear that his teammates and coaches enjoy having him there.
"He's a great leader," Thibodeau said. "He's been here every day. He's been practicing with us. You guys don't see -- he's in the locker room, he's doing all the things that he can do. So his role right now is to support his teammates and that's what he's doing."
Bulls guard Marco Belinelli said it's important to have Rose on the bench.
"He's part of the team ... we are a good group," Belinelli said. "We're all together. I think that's good ... we don't know if he's going to be back, we don't know that, but he's part of the team."
If Rose does decide to sit on the bench for Game 3, it would mark the first time he has done so this season at the United Center.
Thibodeau reiterated that Joakim Noah had no setbacks and would likely play 20-25 minutes, about the same number he played in Game 2.
"He's willing it right now," Thibodeau said after Wednesday's practice. "It says a lot about him. We certainly appreciate what he's putting forth."
Noah played 26 minutes in the Bulls' Game 2 victory, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
"He's a warrior," Belinelli said. "I know that, everybody knows that. Especially like in Game 2, he was unbelievable, especially against (Brook) Lopez. In the last six, seven minutes he got big rebounds for us. He's really important for us, everybody knows that."