Thibs: Caution right for Derrick Rose
MIAMI -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose was ruled out of the team's 94-91 loss in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semifinal against the Miami Heat, meaning he officially missed the entire season after undergoing ACL surgery on May 12, 2012.
"If we were going to make a mistake, we wanted to make the mistake on the side of caution," Thibodeau said. "We feel good about where he is. He has the whole summer to build more confidence and that's the important thing. As we said when he first had the surgery, we weren't going to rush him back, and we held to that. I think it was the smart decision."
After Rose's operation, he was given an 8- to 12-month prognosis by the surgeon and passed the 12-month mark on Sunday.
Bulls forward Taj Gibson said he was not surprised that Rose did not play this season.
"I had a severe MCL sprain and that had me out weeks. He tore his ACL. And me and him were basically doing the same workouts, the same drills, trying to strengthen our legs, and it's tough," Gibson said. "And I still didn't come back all the way, the right way I wanted to come back, but I was able to go out there and basically play and it's even tougher on an ACL because you never know. Anybody can just knock you off. It's unstable. You saw how my knee kept buckling on me. I'm not surprised at all."
Bulls center Joakim Noah admitted the daily questions and speculation about Rose's status were difficult, but applauded Rose for the way he handled the season.
"It was hard. You definitely as a player you want him to come back, but at the same time, you understand that you've got to look at the big picture," Noah said. "I'm really proud of him, actually, because he's dealt with it great with all the pressure coming from a lot of people. I think that the way he handled it was great. I don't think a lot of people could have handled it like that."
Aside from Rose, the Bulls were also without forward Luol Deng and guard Kirk Hinrich for the entire series against the Heat. Deng is still recovering from the effects of a spinal tap to detect possible meningitis, and Hinrich has a bruised left calf.
Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, who had a game-high 26 points on Wednesday, is looking forward to putting together another playoff run next season with what he hopes will be a healthy team.
"I think him [Rose] coming back, Lu [Luol], we can be healthy. ... The thing about our team, to be honest, we haven't been healthy in a playoff run yet. If we are next year, it's going to be scary," he said.
Thibodeau, whose Bulls went 45-37 in the regular season without Rose and with injuries to Noah, Hinrich, Gibson and Richard Hamilton, also likes the Bulls' chances next season.
"If everyone comes back healthy, I think we have the possibility of being very good," Thibodeau said. "We'll have depth. We're hopeful to add to our team. I think that is important. I think we have to add the right type of guys; that's important. But we're optimistic. We're looking forward to the challenge ahead. We can't hope for it; you have to make it happen. And you do that with your work."
ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.