Reinsdorf sees Derrick Rose-MJ parallel

Updated: February 14, 2012, 7:49 PM ET
By Melissa Isaacson | ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bulls fans aren't the only ones discussing and debating the issue of how much Derrick Rose should play with a sore back and nagging turf toe injury.

Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf admits to watching Rose play and flashing back to the times he urged former coach Phil Jackson to rest Michael Jordan.

"I'm one of those people who watches and thinks, 'Why don't you get him out of the game?' " Reinsdorf said of Rose. "When Michael was still in the game and he would be in at the end of big wins, I'd say, 'Phil, why don't you take him out?' And Phil would say, 'When I was with the Knicks, an opponent once scored 23 straight points against us at the end of a game to win.' "

Reinsdorf rarely second-guesses his coaches and laughed that this was one time he wasn't going to win an argument.

"With Phil, he just wouldn't listen," he said. "He just kept bringing up that same game."

It doesn't mean Reinsdorf ever fully came around.

"If you've been around basketball long enough, someone is always going to win a game they have no business winning," he said, "but you can always put guys back in the game. It's not like baseball. Years ago, there was a game the Dodgers lost because Tommy Lasorda pulled all of his starters out and the other team scored eight runs. But this isn't baseball. I never really understood it."

Still, Reinsdorf said he does understand Rose's determination, particularly after the Bulls' 23-point win over New Orleans last week, a game in which Rose finished with six points, six assists and five rebounds in 22 minutes. Rose missed the next two games with back spasms, and coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose will miss his third straight Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings. He's also missed five games because of turf toe.

"I don't know how much pain he was in [against the Hornets]," Reinsdorf said. "He wasn't even looking for his shot. He's got a tremendous desire to win and to be a team player."

And as for Rose's aggressive style of play?

"Derrick's got to play his game," Reinsdorf said.

Melissa Isaacson is a reporter for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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