Big Ten

Derrick Rose may be out longer than expected

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Derrick Rose may be out longer than expected

From Comcast SportsNet
CHICAGO (AP) -- The doctor who operated on Derrick Rose's knee insists the Chicago Bulls' star can dominate again. It will take time, though. Rose faces a recovery of eight months to a year. The assessment by team physician Dr. Brian Cole on Tuesday means the point guard could return around mid-January to early February, or miss next season. The doctor added there is a chance Rose could be back sooner, but "we're not going to rush it." The Bulls had already said Rose has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Cole said there were also two tears in his meniscus cartilage. He said Rose is "doing great," that the surgery went "extremely well" and he can still be an explosive player. "It's impossible to predict tomorrow," Cole said during a news conference at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center. "Statistically, he should be that player and then some. That doesn't mean he's guaranteed. It's a whole lot better than we were accustomed to years ago. The ligament is one thing and the meniscus is another. Getting all the things to heal appropriately is really our goal in the early phases. Then, it's rehab, conditioning -- getting his brain connected to his knee, basically." General manager Gar Forman insisted the Bulls won't rush Rose, that they are more focused on the long term than the short-term hit they'll take without him. The GM is "hopeful" and "optimistic" his franchise player will return next season but isn't sure he will. "In putting this team together, everything was looking at the big picture, long term," Forman said. "I think it's our job to stay focused on that and to continue to look at what we feel is a long window of opportunity to have success and that's how we'll approach it." Rose had surgery on Saturday after being injured two weeks earlier in Chicago's playoff-opening win over Philadelphia, a major blow for a team eyeing its first championship since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era. The Bulls simply weren't the same without their superstar point guard and bowed out in six games, making them the fifth top seed to lose to an eighth seed. Chicago was closing out a 103-91 victory in Game 1 and Rose was showing his MVP form when everything changed. He came to a jump stop in the lane with about 1:20 left and his leg buckled. He went up again and passed to Carlos Boozer in midair before crashing to the court, sending a chill through the arena. That certainly wasn't what the Bulls envisioned after capturing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs for the second straight season despite a long list of injuries. They were eyeing another big run after losing to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals last season, but with their leading scorer sidelined, they made an early exit, becoming the second No. 1 seed in two years to fall in the first round. Rose averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 assists, but had trouble staying healthy after capturing the MVP a year ago. He missed 27 games because of groin, back, toe, foot and ankle problems that the team does not think led to the ACL tear. "This could be anything from a completely random event -- which in a non-contact injury, most of the time that's what it is -- to maybe conditioning," Cole said. "We'll never know with certainty. My feeling is it's more likely than not a very random even that happened. If you watch the video, you can see ... the forces are just right to tear the ligament." He also pointed out that Rose did not tear the medial collateral ligament, making the preparation for the surgery easier. Cole said patients generally start running about three months after surgery, and trainer Fred Tedeschi said players start shooting around that time. From there, they progress to cutting activities and increase the workload from there. Whether Rose spends part of his offseason working out in Los Angeles as he usually does or stays in Chicago, Tedeschi said the Bulls will have someone with him monitoring his rehab. Cole also said Rose should play once he's ready, that he doesn't necessarily recommend sitting out the season as a precaution. "There's a lot of benefit to playing when he's safe," Cole said. "Whether he has to go 40 minutes, that's a different story. Just getting out there and playing when he's able, that's when his exponential growth is going to come. Lots of athletes go back and play at a very high level but not necessarily initially at the level they were pre-injury." The Bulls were a different team in the playoffs once Rose went down, after going 18-9 without him in the regular season. Making matters worse, they lost center Joakim Noah to a sprained left ankle in Game 3 and fell into a 3-1 hole before injecting some drama back into the series. Besides the injuries to Rose, they were without Richard Hamilton for most of the year because of a variety of ailments. Then, there's All-Star Luol Deng. He played a significant portion of the season with a torn ligament in his left wrist and has said several times that he plans to represent Britain at the Olympics in London. Forman basically sidestepped questions about that, saying, "We want to sit down with him and have that conversation with him and our medical staff. I think it would be premature to speculate on anything until we've had a chance to sit down with him. Obviously, we know it's very, very important to him and we want to support our players. The biggest thing is Luol's health." Forman also said the Bulls will exercise their contract option for next season on coach Tom Thibodeau and will try to negotiate a new deal.

Illini play freshman quarterback Cam Thomas for first time, but still fall at Minnesota

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USA TODAY

Illini play freshman quarterback Cam Thomas for first time, but still fall at Minnesota

While Saturday's trip to the Twin Cities featured some more of the same for the Fighting Illini, it marked important step in Lovie Smith's rebuilding project.

Freshman quarterback Cam Thomas, a Marian Catholic product, saw action for the first time in his collegiate career, Smith busting out a new option at the game's most important position. Thomas threw a nasty pick six, but he did lead Illinois in rushing in a 24-17 loss at Minnesota.

Thomas only made four throws, completing two of them and landing a third in the hands of a Minnesota defender, but his play injected a bit of excitement into what's looking like another dreadful season of Illinois football, with Smith's team falling to 2-5 through the first seven games of his second season at the helm of the program. Thomas mostly starred with his feet Saturday, rushing for a team-high 79 yards in the defeat.

His first appearance came following the first of the Illinois' defense's three takeaways. Thomas ran for a nine-yard gain on his first carry, and the Illini tied the game with a touchdown on the next play. Thomas was interchanged with starting quarterback Jeff George Jr. from there on out.

While the Illini defense kept the Gophers at bay for much of the day thanks to those three takeaways, P.J. Fleck's team had no trouble racking up rushing yardage, finishing with a whopping 292 rushing yards. Minnesota engineered a 12-play, 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter exclusively running the ball to break a 10-all tie and go up 17-10.

Thomas threw a pick six on the very next play from scrimmage, sending the Gophers up 24-10 to effectively seal the deal. George led an Illinois touchdown drive on the next possession, but the Illini couldn't make up the suddenly big gap in the limited amount of time.

Illinois finished with only 282 yards of offense. George was 18-for-23 for 128 yards and a touchdown. Ra'Von Bonner carried the ball 18 times for 57 yards and a touchdown.

The defeat dropped the Illini to 2-5 on the season and 0-4 in conference play. One of just two teams without a Big Ten win (Indiana is the other), Illinois faces off against a top-10 Wisconsin team next weekend.

Bulls' Bobby Portis publicly apologizes to Nikola Mirotic: 'I'm wrong for what I did'

Bulls' Bobby Portis publicly apologizes to Nikola Mirotic: 'I'm wrong for what I did'

Bobby Portis publicly issued an apology to Nikola Mirotic for the punch that broke two bones in Mirotic’s face and caused a concussion earlier this week.

Portis was suspended eight games by the NBA while Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks after he goes through concussion protocol, following an incident in Tuesday’s practice where the tensions boiled over between the two power forwards.

“I'm wrong for what I did. I want to publicly apologize to Niko,” said Portis outside the Bulls locker room at the United Center, hours before the home opener against the San Antonio Spurs. “I feel like I let my fans, the Bulls organization, and most importantly my teammates down. This is not who Bobby Portis is.”

Sticking to clear talking points, repeatedly saying “we were competing” as a way to describe the incident, it was a more toned down version of Portis. Portis is usually colorful and engaging when talking to the media.

Saturday, he was muted, almost robotic in a sense. And he didn’t want to go into the incident in detail, one that many sources have said was instigated by Mirotic as the two were going back and forth physically during several possessions.

The play before, things intensified, causing assistant coach Randy Brown to step in and break things up. The next time downcourt, Mirotic apparently charged at Portis and Portis responded with one punch that sent Mirotic to the floor.

Gently choosing his words, Portis said, “We were competing and kinda went back and forth and things happened.”

When asked if he was shoved, Portis reiterated the two were competing although numerous accounts say Mirotic did push him leading up to the direct incident.

“Yes I was surprised by my own action,” Portis said. “That's not who I was, as I first stated. I'm a competitor at the end of the day but I never meant to hurt my teammate.”

Portis and Mirotic have not yet spoken, although Portis said he’s called and texted Mirotic with no response. It hasn’t been determined whether Mirotic will take legal action on Portis.

“Not concerned with that at this point,” Portis said. “At this point I’m just trying to publicly apologize to Niko and my teammates, and that I’m real sincere about the situation.”

Portis will be allowed to practice during his suspension, having returned Friday and Portis believes things can be mended with he and his teammate.

“Going forward I want to make sure that me and Niko are cool and we can be teammates again,” Portis said. “I'm pretty sure we can. We just have to repair this relationship.”

Justin Holiday said the issue will have to be addressed head on as opposed to being swept under the rug or letting the element of time naturally heal things. Whether that conversation is initiated by teammates or the coaching staff or front office, as long as both are wearing a Bulls uniform, it will be necessary.

“It hasn’t been arranged, but I’m pretty sure we’ll have to talk it out,” Portis said. “And I’m pretty sure it will be a gentle conversation. I’m pretty sure we can get past this.”