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Sore Rose, Gibson should be ready for Bulls' playoff opener

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Sore Rose, Gibson should be ready for Bulls' playoff opener

When Aaron Brooks stepped onto the floor with the first five to start the second half in the Bulls’ regular-season finale, murmurs could be heard through the United Center as the fan base was likely petrified over whatever could be wrong with Derrick Rose.

After all, everything had been geared toward this postseason, and with the way he played up until Wednesday night, something wrong with Rose wouldn’t be so much ominous as it was expected.

But it was just left knee soreness, and the Bulls point guard pulled himself out from participating in the Bulls’ come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Hawks, which clinched their first-round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks.

“Not worried,” Rose said afterward. “It’s something I felt before in the past, probably USA (basketball, in the summer). But I felt good. I’m not worried about it coming up again. It’s just tonight wasn’t the night.”

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Rose patiently answered queries from the curious media, as there was no injury report released by the team on him as he sat at the end of the bench from the third quarter on.

It’s important to note it wasn’t the right knee, the one Rose had surgery on in late February to remove his meniscus, causing him to miss six weeks of action and placing real doubt on whether he would return to the floor this season.

“He had a little bit of soreness in his knee,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The guys are kind of nicked up right now, and I want to play it safe. We just decided to sit him out the second half.”

Not only did Rose sit the second half, but Taj Gibson left the game in the third quarter with a left shoulder strain, and the Bulls were already without Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich for the evening.

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Gibson took a cortisone shot at halftime, and there’s no real concern about him missing Game 1 on Saturday night. Rose’s status doesn’t appear to be up in the air, either, but with this Bulls team for this season, nobody’s taking anything for granted from an availability standpoint.

“I took that at halftime so I’d be feeling a lot better come Saturday,” Gibson said. “I’m OK going forward. Got the shot, looking forward to feeling a lot better tomorrow. Another day of rest, practice, should be fine.

“I was in a lot of pain all yesterday, even in Brooklyn I was in a lot of pain, but I just kept playing, trying to be tough, just trying to go after it and put my body first, put my body before the team, no excuses, gotta keep being tough. It’s that time of the year. Gotta push out all the excuses, all the negativity, and it’s time to go.”

Rose said the same thing moments earlier, the “no excuses” mantra that will likely be manna to a starved fan base. Playing just a handful of games before the postseason certainly feels like a dangerous proposition, but Rose knows that doesn’t matter much now anyways.

“I think nobody cares now,” said Rose to laughs. “I think it’s all about playing. Like I said, going into these playoffs, no excuses and get the job done. That’s the mindset.”

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Both sides felt it was pertinent to take the long view — as in preparing for Saturday and hopefully for their sake, a long run into late spring. Had Wednesday been a playoff game, Rose said he would’ve been on the floor.

“Probably had it a couple weeks back,” said Rose when asked if he felt soreness before. “But it wasn’t no point in fighting through it tonight. Playoff game, yes, but I believe in my teammates, that’s one of the reasons there wasn’t any pressure.”

Brooks of course played the hero in Rose’s stead, and Thibodeau said he knows Rose would’ve liked to play a little more to get more rust off.

“I just thought with the way it was going it was better for him not to play and Taj as well,” Thibodeau said. “We are going to play it safe. We just want to make sure anyone who is nicked up, they are getting rest now.”

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Monte Harrison, brother to Bulls' Shaq, makes sibling sports history

Miami Marlins center fielder Monte Harrison made a bit of history on Aug. 4, when he laced up for his first ever MLB game.

With his debut, he and older brother Shaq officially became just the sixth MLB-NBA brother duo in league history. The most recent? Klay and Trayce Thompson, the latter of which appeared in his last MLB game on June 20, 2018 for the White Sox. Chicago ties all around.


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Shaq used his trademark brand of heart and hustle to work his way up from two 10-day contracts with the Phoenix Suns to a multi-year pact with the Bulls. Monte's path to the majors began in 2014 after the Milwaukee Brewers plucked him in the second round of the Amateur Draft from Lee's Summit West High School in Lee's Summit, Mo. He was jettisoned to Miami as part of the Christian Yelich trade in 2018. 

In 2019, Monte played 58 games between Miami's High-A and Triple-A affiliates, slashing .270/.351/.441 with 9 home runs, 24 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He's been known to flash some leather, too, and entered this season the club's tenth-ranked prospect.

Since his call-up, he's appeared in four contests (three starts) with the Marlins, and is just 1-for-10 at the plate with five strikeouts. But we'll forgive some early-career stumbles. His first big-league base-knock, which came on Thursday, was perfectly emblematic of what Bulls fans have come to expect from the Harrison household.

Yup. A cue-shot infield single. Exit velocity: 44.3 mph. Expected batting average: .190. But he beat it out. And followed it up with a stolen base. You can't script this stuff.

"I don’t know what my mother did, a lot of prayers, a lot of believing, and trust in us," Monte said after his debut on Tuesday, via Bob Nightengale. "We just worked our ass off.''

That much is evident.

RELATED: How Bulls’ Shaq Harrison impacts games, even with limited playing time

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Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

Latest on the NBA's second bubble for teams eliminated from restart

With the NBA restarting with 22 of its 30 teams, there was buzz in early July of a second bubble coming to Chicago for the eight teams excluded to get in organized team activities and possibly scrimmages.

Now, it appears those talks have significantly slowed, if not stalled entirely.

The Athletic reported Tuesday that there is "significant doubt" the second bubble concept will come to fruition, but Friday, that bringing the "Delete Eight" teams into the Disney campus has been discussed. Any agreement — whether it be a full-on bubble or respective, in-market OTAs — would require stringent safety protocols and need to be agreed upon by the league and NBPA.

On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut:

Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association.

How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn't mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it's a non-starter for her.

The league's attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you'd also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL.

And I don't think that's dead, but there's certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it's fluid, and there's nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams. 

In the episode, the crew also breaks down the week in NBA bubble action, talks Jim Boylen and more. Listen here or via the embedded player below: