Bulls

Thibodeau's guide to injuries and off days

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Thibodeau's guide to injuries and off days

NEW ORLEANSThough youve likely read or listened to bits and pieces of it before, consider the following the definitive Tom Thibodeau explanation for how he handles injuries and the pacing of his team during this condensed regular-season schedule.

To me, obviously if a guy is hurt, theyre injured, they shouldnt play. But if he can play, he should play. Somehow, this notion of guys sitting out games -- pretty soon well be at the point where a guy sits out the whole season and just plays in the playoffs, if he can get there. I dont get that, Thibodeau said before the Bulls Wednesday-morning shootaround, when asked about the possibility of sitting out Derrick Rose against the Hornets. But I certainly dont want him to play if hes injured. To me, theres a big difference there. We dont want any of our players to play if theyre injured and thats the balance that you have to strike. Right now, our schedule, even though were on the road, theyre spaced out. Were not dealing with back-to-backs right now. If he gets the proper amount of rest -- thats with all our players -- we scale back on a lot of things.

Its not just the minutes the guy plays in a game, its what youre doing on your off days also, so if you cut back practice time and you cut back shootaround, where youre doing more film and that sort of thing. So, you can get rest that way also. I think how you pace your team is important and everything youre doing, youre projecting what you need to be playing your best at the end of the season and to be as healthy as you possibly can, so you are factoring in all those things, he continued. Can you get the proper amount of rest? Can you develop the proper habits you need to be successful late? And the only way you build those habits is doing your work. If you dont do your work and expect to play well at the end, thats just foolish.

Thibodeau also broke down how the Bulls spent Tuesday, a day off, in New Orleans, while theyre in the midst of a nine-game road trip.

Tuesday was meeting, film session, then we had some time available if guys wanted to go and get some work. We had some guys who did that, we had guys who did massage, we had guys who did therapy. So, it was a compilation of things, where whatever you needed, thats what we tried to get to. So, some of the guys who havent been playing a lot, they came over and got some extra work in. the guys who have gotten more minutes, they were back in the hotel and got their treatment, massage and that sort of thing. So, I think thats the big point about how you pace your team, he said. John Lucas III, Scal Brian Scalabrine, Jimmy Butler and then some guys who wanted extra shooting, they got their shooting in, and I think our guys are good about that. so, they know if the rest is more important and whether the extra rest is more important, so thats why were real careful right now about our practice time, what were doing and what were not doing.

As the old NBC public-service commercials used to say, "The more you know." Unless reporters ask Thibodeau for definitive injury news, that is.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times), Hub Arkush (ProFootball Weekly) and Jason Goch (SB Nation) join Kap on the panel.

The guys debate which team will finish with a higher draft pick when the season ends: Bulls or Blackhawks?

Plus, hear their reaction to the MLB’s new pace-of-play rule change.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: