NEWARK, N.J. After being seen doing extra stretching with the Bulls training staff during the teams win in Milwaukee Saturday -- something also witnessed earlier in the road trip, during the Bulls in Washington last Monday -- Derrick Roses status was a topic of conversation entering Mondays game against the Nets.
However, both Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and Rose downplayed the significance of his back pain before the game and Rose started the contest.
While he committed two fouls early in the game and had to take a seat, all seemed fine. That is, until the 2:54 mark of the second quarter, when Rose left the game, never to return after being diagnosed with lower back spasms.
Right now, I feel all right. Just back spasms, nothing to worry about. Tuesday we have a day off, get treatment, get a massage and hopefully Ill be playing next game, Rose said afterwards. It was tight the whole game. Its just something where Ive got to get a massage and stretched the right way, and hopefully itll be gone.
I cant remember when it happened. I was tight a couple of games ago, but tonight was pretty tough and intense, he continued. For right now, Ill be playing next game. Its nothing like Im going to be sitting out. I always want to think positive, just try to keep things going our way.
Thibodeau was also cautiously optimistic.
Just some back stiffness, day-to-day, so well see how he is Tuesday, said the coach. Bulls trainer Fred Tedeschi thought he landed on one of his layups, but hes had some stiffness now.
Youre always concerned, certainly with him, but no more than every other player, too. Health is a big concern. Hes done a great job of taking care of himself this year, doing a lot of extra conditioning, lifting, rehab, massage, rest, so were hopeful that this is a very short-term thing.
Rose believes the symptoms started probably even before the Wizards game, but while he cant pinpoint when they occurred, he explained what he thinks the cause is.
Its pretty tight. Im a guy thats not flexible, so if one thing fails on meespecially when it has something to do with my legs; tendonitis or whateverit tends to use the other parts of your body a little bit more and these last couple of days, its been my back, he said.
I think Thibs has been doing a great job of managing us, making sure were getting rest. We havent been practicing that much and when we do practice, we dont move around as much. He tells us its more like a mental practice, where he challenges us mentally in knowing what we have to do when we go into every game we play.