Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is “hopeful” Derrick Rose will be available to play on the Bulls’ back-to-back road trip against Miami and Orlando starting tomorrow, saying Rose will be a gametime decision for Tuesday’s game against the Heat.
Whatever happens, it comes at a critical time for the Bulls as they are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the Detroit Pistons—coinciding with Rose’s longest absence of the season, three consecutive games.
“He’s feeling better,” Hoiberg said. “When I worked him out the day before the Washington game he was in a lot of pain. Yesterday he worked out again, he had less pain.
“This morning, he got a good warmup in, got a good workout in before practice, participated in most of it, and that’s a good sign that he hasn’t had a setback after good hard workouts. He made it through part of the scrimmages today. Hopefully he’ll be available tomorrow, if not Orlando.”
With it being his right hamstring, the Bulls are being as cautious as Rose is, and Hoiberg tried to quell any doubts about Rose’s injury by saying he could see his point guard favoring his leg and limping during workouts.
“It’s diagnosed as a tendinitis injury,” Hoiberg said. “A lot of it is how he explodes off it. It’s the knee he’s had repaired a couple times. Hopefully when we get him back we get him back for the rest of the year.”
Rose has played 48 of the 58 games so far this season, and the Bulls need him and Jimmy Butler back to have a better chance at securing a playoff berth—not to mention being in a decent situation to actually win a first-round series.
Butler is staying back to get additional work in with his recovering left knee strain, and Hoiberg wouldn’t close the possibility of Butler being back Saturday against Houston.
Butler has missed the last nine games since injuring the knee in the second quarter of the Bulls’ Feb. 5 game against the Denver Nuggets.
“Potentially. We’ll see how it goes. He’d only have one practice with that (scenario),” Hoiberg said. “But to get some 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 workouts he’ll have a pretty good idea about how he’s feeling.”
Considering how Miami is jockeying for playoff positioning and the Orlando Magic is on the outside looking in but close enough to disrupt things, the Bulls could be .500 by Saturday against the dysfunctional but talented Rockets.
“His big thing is getting comfortable and confident he can explode off that left leg, which is his jumping leg,” said Hoiberg of Butler. “If he feels great in practice, I wouldn’t rule Saturday out.”