Bulls

Rose day-to-day with back spasms

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Rose day-to-day with back spasms

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.

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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Moral victory for the Bears?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Moral victory for the Bears?

David Schuster, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.

0:00- Dave Wannstedt joins the panel to discuss the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots? Was it a moral victory? Is Matt Nagy crazy to say Mitch Trubisky didn’t play that bad?

13:00- Joe Girardi pulls his name out of the Reds managerial search and Jon Heyman reports that industry sources believe he might wait to see if there’s an opening in Chicago. What are the chances that he replaces Joe Maddon?

14:30- Adam Amin joins Kap to preview the Bulls/Mavericks game and discuss the lack of defense in the NBA.