Bulls

Bulls: Derrick Rose practices, could play in preseason finale

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Bulls: Derrick Rose practices, could play in preseason finale

The left eye was still squinting but opening more than it had been since media day for Derrick Rose, who went through a contact practice and appears ready to play a few minutes in Friday's preseason game against Dallas.

Fred Hoiberg would certainly like to see Rose out there for at least a few minutes of game action before declaring his point guard fit to play on opening night.

“Derrick participated in a little bit of the contact, not a lot,” said Hoiberg, who wants to see Rose play 5-10 minutes if possible. “But it was good to see him out there. He’s getting more work with Randy (Brown, assistant coach). We’ll see. Maybe see how he feels in the morning. He has a lot of general soreness right now just from picking up the activity after basically not doing anything for two weeks.”

Hoiberg said Rose’s double vision would prevent him from playing but Rose said he would play anyways, as long as his vision doesn’t take a step back overnight.

[MORE BULLS: Adidas' slogan for Derrick Rose this year is, well, ironic]

“They just want me out there,” Rose said. “As long as I'm out there and moving around, I'm not worried about attacking or being aggressive. That's going to come. I just need to be out there.”

Playing with the mask seems to be growing on him, although he’s not sure if he’ll stay with it even after the eye heals. Catching the basketball and judging the speed of it are the major issues with the healing orbital bone, which was repaired a little over three weeks ago.

When asked by a reporter if he still has double vision, Rose said, “Yeah, yeah. Right now I see two of you. It’s kind of bad, but it’s preseason you know, so it’s all about getting out there and playing, just playing a couple of minutes and seeing how it goes.”

Rose worked up a good sweat in Charlotte before the game Monday, shooting around, and actually got hit in the face with his mask on during practice. He said it didn’t feel as bad as he thought it would, which could bring him some level of comfort as far as driving to the basket.

“Every day I’m improving. The eye itself, the swelling is going down, so just taking my time,” Rose said. “Practice has been going well. Been practicing pretty hard, and if everything is alright tomorrow, I’m going to play a little bit.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the season, Bulls fans!]

It seemed like a daily thing with Rose, as far as his progress headed toward opening night. But it seems as if, at the very least, playing on opening night against the Cleveland Cavaliers next Tuesday is not only in his sights but a priority.

“I mean for anybody opening night is opening night,” Rose said. “It’s when the season starts, so it’s your showcase to show everybody what you been doing the entire summer. So it’s a big night, but at the same time if I feel like I can’t go there’s no point in rushing it or pushing myself.”

Hoiberg stressed it’s a long season, especially with three games in four nights hitting the Bulls smack in the face to start the season but isn’t putting any pressure on Rose.

“To have him out there today, there’s a lot of rust, which there should be,” Hoiberg said. “Not many guys can take that amount of time off and come back and look like an All-Star right away. I think it’d be great for him if he could (play).”

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

There are diehard Michael Jordan fans.

And then there's this guy.

Forget anybody getting a tattoo of their favorite team's championship trophy. Forget the people who wait for hours in terrible weather just to catch a glimpse of their favorite player.

This dude has a constant, 24/7 reminder of "His Airness":

Yep, that is a full tattoo of a Jordan "23" jersey on his back, complete with a Michael Jordan "autograph" in the middle of the "2." 

Dedication at its finest.

Couple questions: 

A) Does it carry over to the front at all? And if not, is that a plan for the future?

2) Will one of his buddies get a "45" Jordan jersey tattoo or are we just gonna continue to pretend that era never happened?

D) What will that tat look like in a few years? That guy better stay away from the Doritos...

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.