Chicago Sun-Times

January 2011 Archives

Gibson back at practice

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When he went down in the fourth quarter of the Bulls' win against Indiana on Saturday, Taj Gibson looked as if he could miss some time with a sprained right ankle. But Gibson participated in Monday's practice session at the Berto Center and everything seems fine with the ankle.

"I felt fine," he said. "I had a long first night of pain, but I came back strong and I wanted to play through it. It was real sore, but the team doctors wrapped it up real good and the coaches made sure I took the proper precautions."

Rose will play tonight against Magic

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After warming up tonight at the United Center, Derrick Rose said he will play in the game against the Orlando Magic.

"I'm gonna suck it up and just go out there and play," he said. "I feel all right. I think I can fight through it. I'm gonna go out there and give my all."

When asked if would play his normal minutes, Rose said: "We'll see tonight. It hurts, but I want to play in this game. It's up to me and I feel like I can go."

Rose game-time decision after practicing

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Derrick Rose, who revealed Thursday that he's been diagnosed with two ulcers, participated in the Bulls' shootaround this morning, but the decision of whether he plays tonight against the Orlando Magic at the United Center won't be made until closer to tip-off.

"I'll have to see when I get down there," he said. "More than likely I am. I'm just a little fatigued, but I should be fine."

Physically, Rose is fine and capable of playing, but his energy level is low because he hasn't been able to eat much since he began experiencing heartburn on Monday.

"It still hurts," he said. "I still haven't been able to eat a whole meal; just portions of things and shakes and smoothies.

"It's a game that I love, so I should be able to play."

Finding out about the ulcers was an obvious shock to Rose, who was still subdued a day after being named a starter in next month's NBA All-Star Game.

"This right here was a scare," he said. "I've got a chef. I guess I've been eating too much spicy food. I've been eating it my whole life, so I was kind of surprised when that was probably one of the reasons it [developed].

"But I really can't complain right now. We're winning and everything is going great right now. This is something I just have to fight through."

The All-Star starters were announced on TNT Thursday night, but Rose wasn't watching. He said he learned about the honor from his mother and friends -- who were watching in another room at his house -- and didn't have much of a reaction.

"It was regular," he said. "It's not like it was a celebration or anything.
"I just wasn't into it like that. It's not me. I don't know why, but it's just not me."

Rose, though, did admit that being an All-Star starter - the Bulls' first since Michael Jordan - is a big deal to him after making his first All-Star appearance last season.

"This will mean a lot," he said. "Last year, I didn't start, but it was a great experience. This year, I know it's gonna be even better.

"I can't wait. I know it's gonna be exciting. I think I've been playing well, my confidence is very high right now and I know a lot of people are gonna be watching."

Rose named All-Star starter

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Derrick Rose finished second among Eastern Conference guards in the fan balloting for next month's NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles and will start alongside Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.

Before the announcement was made Thursday night on TNT, Rose addressed the possibility of becoming the Bulls' first All-Star starter since Michael Jordan in 1998.

"For me to be the first one - if it does happen - would be great," Rose said, "but I didn't think about Michael Jordan or anything like that."

Rose has downplayed the possibility of starting for weeks, saying it would be an honor to be on the team whether he was a starter or a reserve. Last season, Rose became the first Bull since Jordan to play in the All-Star Game when he was a reserve.

The rest of the East starters are Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic at center and LeBron James of the Heat and Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks at forward.

The West starters are Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets at guard, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Carmelo Anthony at forward and Yao Ming at center. Yao is injured and will be replaced by commissioner David Stern when the reserves are announced next week.

Rose diagnosed with ulcers

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Derrick Rose didn't practice again on Thursday, but he was at the Berto Center and dropped a surprise afterward when he revealed he had been diagnosed with two stomach ulcers.

"It was kind of crazy because at first when my stomach was hurting I thought I was coming down with something," Rose said. "My family was worried about it, but I'll be all right.

"I guess it's from eating too much spicy food or something like that, because I love spicy food. I think I've been eating well besides the spicy food."

Rose said he first started experiencing heartburn on Monday, but things got so bad Tuesday night that he couldn't sleep and thought he was having a heart attack or something, so he called trainer Fred Tedeschi.

Rose missed practice and was at Rush-University Medical Center on Wednesday undergoing tests when the ulcers (one regular sized and one small) were discovered.

"It's real painful for me to eat, drink, swallow and all that stuff," he said. "But they gave me some medication for it and that's what I'm taking right now."

Despite missing the last two days of practice, Rose said he is hoping to participate in the team's shootaround on Friday and play that night against the Orlando Magic at the United Center.

"I haven't been able to eat anything, so my energy is low," he said. "But I should be all right."

Johnson send to D-League

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The Bulls announced Thursday that second-year player James Johnson has been assigned to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League.

"Assigning James to the D-League gives him an opportunity to play an extended amount of minutes and will be good for his overall growth," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said.

Johnson, a 6-9 forward, has appeared in just 12 games this season, averaging 3.5 points and two rebounds in 10.2 minutes.

Most of Johnson's playing time came early in the season. Despite helping the Bulls rally to win a couple of games, Johnson's play was inconsistent and he seemed to fall out of favor with coach Tom Thibodeau.

Playing in the D-League will get Johnson some much-needed playing time, but also will leave the Bulls with just 11 healthy players. If Luol Deng gets hurt -- even for a half -- they would be severely short-handed.

The timing of Johnson being sent down is also curious because the Bulls have a lot of practice days coming up and will be a body short.

Rose misses practice with illness

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Derrick Rose didn't practice Wednesday because of flu-like symptoms. Rose talked to the Bulls' training staff in the morning and was told to stay home.

"He's not feeling well," coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose. "We decided it was best for him not to come."

Boozer playing tonight vs. Cavs

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Carlos Boozer will be back in the starting lineup tonight when the Bulls host the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle.

"He was fine today in the shootaround and there were no problems there," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He'll be starting and playing his normal minutes."

Boozer practices; should play tomorrow

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Carlos Boozer participated in the Bulls' brief practice Friday at the Berto Center and is likely to play Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers after missing the last three games with a sprained left ankle.

"I'm good, better and better and I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Boozer said. "I think there's a good chance I'll play tomorrow. My ankle felt great today. I ran little on the treadmill, got some shots up early and walked through some stuff with the team. My ankle feels pretty good."

As long as there's no setback, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau expects Boozer to be in the starting lineup against the Cavaliers.

"We didn't do a whole lot today, but [trainer] Fred [Tedeschi] cleared him, so if he's OK tomorrow after the shootaround he goes."

The Bulls went 2-1 during Boozer's absence, but the offense could use a boost after scoring 82 points in each of the last two games.

"The big thing is he gives us a low-post threat," Thibodeau said. "We're probably relying too much on jump shots. It gives us more of a balance to our offense."

Boozer out again tonight; misses third straight

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Carlos Boozer won't play in tonight's game against the Dallas Mavericks and will miss his third straight game with a sprained left ankle.

"We just want to be smart about it," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I'd prefer that he get through a practice. Once he gets through a practice, you have a good idea that he's OK. He wasn't quite ready this morning, so I didn't feel good about throwing him out there tonight."

Boozer 'questionable' tonight vs. Mavs

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The status of Carlos Boozer for tonight's game with the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center remains uncertain, but it sounds like the power forward is likely to miss a third straight game because of a sprained left ankle.

"That'll be a game-time decision," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Boozer playing. "He didn't go through the shootaround [this morning], but he's getting close. Tonight, if he feels better, we're gonna try a couple of things down there [at the United Center].

"I'd say questionable right now."

Boozer is improving and walking without a limp, but the Bulls want to be cautious.

"I want to make sure that he's 100 percent," Thibodeau said. "I don't want this to linger. We can't be short sighted. Each day it's better, but it's still not 100 percent. We'll see what it looks like tonight. He'll get another treatment and try to do some things.

"If he can't go, we feel we have more than enough to win."

Boozer out again tonight; still day to day

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Carlos Boozer will miss his second straight game with a sprained left ankle when the Bulls host the Charlotte Bobcats at the United Center.

Taj Gibson again will get the start at power forward.

Rose named player of the week

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Derrick Rose was named the NBA's Eastern Conference player of the week on Monday after leading the Bulls to a 3-1 during the period from Jan. 10-16.

Rose averaged 27.3 points, 6.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds. He also went 28-for-29 (96.6 percent) from the free-throw line during that period.

Boozer better, 'Day to day'

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MEMPHIS -- Carlos Boozer didn't make the trip here for today's game with the Memphis Grizzlies because of the left ankle sprain he suffered late in the win over the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau reported that the power forward is feeling better.

"He's just day to day," Thibodeau said. "He was better [Sunday] and stayed behind to get treatment."

Exactly when Boozer will be well enough to play in a game remains to be seen. His status for Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats in the United Center is unclear at this point.

"[Trainer Fred Tedeschi] said he was significantly better Sunday," Thibodeau said. "But you can never really tell with those things."

Boozer out vs. Memphis tomorrow

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Power forward Carlos Boozer (sprained left ankle) didn't travel with the Bulls to Memphis today and is out for Monday's game with the Grizzlies.

The Bulls provided no further update.

Boozer hurts ankle in Bulls' win

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The Bulls' thrilling win over the Miami Heat on Saturday night apparently came with a heavy price.

Power forward Carlos Boozer was injured as the Bulls scored the game-winning basket in the 99-96 victory.

The Bulls didn't disclose any information about the injury, but Boozer left the United Center with his left foot and ankle in a boot. He was taken from the locker room to the loading dock where the players park in a golf cart with his foot propped up.

Boozer didn't comment as he left, but a team source said he tweaked the ankle and severity of it won't be known until today.

On the play where Boozer was hurt, Derrick Rose missed a short shot in traffic. Boozer tipped the ball out - where Kyle Korver gathered it and hit a three-pointer with 25.5 seconds left - and injured the ankle as he landed.

Boozer signed with the Bulls as a free agent over the summer. He missed the first five weeks of the regular season after breaking his right hand in a home accident during the first week of training camp.

He has played well since returning to action on Dec. 1 and is second on the team in scoring with an average of 20.1 points in 25 games.

If Boozer is sidelined any length of time, the Bulls will be severely shorthanded upfront because center Joakim Noah (thumb surgery) is out for about another month.

LeBron out tonight vs. Bulls

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Miami Heat star LeBron James won't play tonight against the Bulls at the United Center. It will be the second straight game James has missed because of a sprained ankle.

James Jones will start at small forward for Miami.

When asked before the news broke if he wanted James to play, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said:

"You always want the best players on the [opposing] team to play. You don't want someone to say you won because someone didn't play. But if he doesn't play, we'll just have to play whoever."

LeBron 'doubtful' for Bulls game tonight

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LeBron James (sprained ankle) didn't participate in the Miami Heat's shootaround at the United Center this morning and it doesn't look like he'll play tonight against the Bulls.

"We have not ruled him out, but it is doubtful," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James. "He is feeling better. He's gonna come over on the first bus and get some treatment and try and loosen it up and we'll make the decision."

After getting treatment, James will test out the ankle before a decision is made.

"It'll come down to two things," Spoelstra said. "One, can it become worse? And two, what's his comfort level with it? He's a very competitive guy, he wants to play."

Rose uncomfortable with MJ All-Star comparisons

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INDIANAPOLIS -- If he holds his current position and is elected a starter in next month's NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Derrick Rose will become the Bulls' first All-Star starter since Michael Jordan a year after he became the franchise's first All-Star since Jordan.

But Rose, still just in his third year in the league, is uncomfortable with any comparison to Jordan right now.

"I wouldn't want to be near him right now because he did so much for the Bulls," Rose said Friday. "I'll be just happy to be on the team. I don't look at stuff like that, first All-Star, first starter or whatever. I'm just happy that they nominated me for just being on that team."

Rose hasn't campaigned for a starting nod on the Eastern Conference team and continues to say it'll be an honor to be on the team in any capacity. But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose certainly is worthy of the honor.

"So far, he's having that type of season," Thibodeau said. "There's not much control he has on that other than continuing to play the way he's playing and then the fans make that decision. He's playing at a very high level and I think he's earned it."

Rose isn't campaigning, but the Bulls and Adidas have teamed up for a get-out-the-vote campaign during Saturday night's game with the Miami Heat at the United Center. Before the game, a placard promoting Rose will be placed on every seat.

"That's great knowing that you have an organization behind you, pushing for you to start," Rose said. "I told you I wasn't gonna do anything. It's really up to the fans and I'm thankful that I have that many votes."

Rose, though, was mostly focused on tonight's game with the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse because the Bulls were looking to bounce back from Wednesday's 96-91 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

"Our [problem] at the beginning of the games has been our energy, coming out with low energy," Rose said. "I think tonight will be different. Guys got some rest, we looked at film and everybody was disgusted with ourselves knowing that we could have done better.

"But I think tonight will be a totally different game than what you saw last game."

Thibs: Rose in MVP discussion

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When it comes to talking about individual honors or even looking past the next game on the schedule, Tom Thibodeau usually doesn't go there. But the coach didn't hesitate to answer Tuesday when asked if Derrick Rose deserves to be in the discussion for the NBA's most valuable player award.

"Certainly; so far," Thibodeau said. "The big thing is you have to do it for an entire season and your team has to win big. I think that's what the MVP is."

The MVP award will be decided down the road. For now, the Bulls are focusing on trying to get Rose voted in as a starter in the All-Star Game. He trailed Boston's Rajon Rondo by about 12,000 votes in the Eastern Conference results at guard released last week and appears to be closing the gap.

The Bulls haven't had a starter in the All-Star Game since Michael Jordan in 1998.

"It would mean a lot, but it's nothing serious," Rose said of starting. "I'll still be on the team, hopefully, but a starter, that's something I wouldn't want to fight for or anything. That's up to the fans, so I'm not worried about it."

Bulls feeling much better after Celtics win

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The Bulls were able to shake off the bad taste of consecutive losses at New Jersey and Philadelphia by beating the Boston Celtics at home on Saturday.

Now Derrick Rose says they have to keep the momentum going by beating another sub-.500 team, the Detroit Pistons, tonight at the United Center.

"We lost two in a row and won a huge game the other night," Rose said following the Bulls' shootaround this morning at the Berto Center. "But today is a different day and we have to come out ready to play. We're playing against a good team that can beat you. They gave us a tough game at home back in Detroit and it's gonna be a tough game today."

The Bulls are in the midst of a stretch in which they play eight games in 12 days, which leaves little time for practice.

"You have maximize the use of your time, whether it's your shootaround, your team meetings, your sessions, your study pregame and things of that nature," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It's the way it is. Sometimes you get a break in the schedule and you have two or three days and you get more time in the gym.

"But I think if you build the right habits from the start, you prepare yourself consistently for each game."

Collins expects better effort tonight

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Bulls' biggest margin of victory this season came a little more than two weeks ago in a 111-76 rout of the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center.

Sixers coach Doug Collins believes that game was an aberration and expects his team to play much better tonight when the teams meet at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I sure hope we have a better effort tonight," he said. "They took it to us from start to finish. They were the aggressors, they got off to a great rhythm start and, for whatever reason, it was our worse game of the year."

That performance was out of whack with the way the Sixers have played the past month.

"We went the next night in a back-to-back and played Boston great," Collins said. "We had a four-point lead late and the final score that game was 84-80. We had just been to Orlando the game before the Chicago game and played a terrific defensive game.

"I don't know what it was. Maybe it was the fact we spent two days in Chicago and it was the holidays and guys were out Christmas shopping or doing their stuff or whatever. But that was the only game this year I felt was a no-contest from start to finish."

Boozer, Thibs insist there's no rift

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PHILADELPHIA -- Before the Bulls took the court for shootaround this morning at the Wells Fargo Center, both Carlos Boozer and coach Tom Thibideau insisted there was no lingering issue stemming from Boozer sitting out the final 14 minutes of the team's 96-94 loss in New Jersey Wednesday night.

When asked if he and Thibodeau had a chance to talk on Thursday, Boozer said: "Oh yeah, it's fine. It's over and done with. Moving on to Philly and looking forward to a good game tonight."

Like he said to the media following the game, Thibodeau told Boozer the reason for the move was matchups and keeping the second-unit players in the game because they were effective.

"He was just rolling with the guys that were making the comeback," Boozer said. "I'm not worried about it. It's not really an issue. We got Philly tonight and I'm looking forward to a bounce back game."

Thibodeau also said everything was fine between him and the Bulls' big offseason free-agent acquisition and that Boozer didn't express any frustration to him.

"No, Carlos has been great," Thibodeau said. "The guy's a winner. He's gonna be on the floor most of the time. He and Derrick [Rose] sat most of the fourth quarter. They were cheering their teammates on. At that point, we were just trying to get a win. That's what that was all about. It wasn't about any other stuff."

After the New Jersey game, Boozer was short with his answers when speaking with the media and didn't directly address not playing the final 14 minutes.

"You have to ask Thibs about that," he said. "That was a coaching decision."

Boozer, though, said he wasn't angry about not playing.

"I was mad we lost," he said. "I was [ticked] we lost. And, of course, when you lose you want to be out there to help your team playing as a competitor. I felt like if I was out there I would help my team win. That's over and done with now. You can't go backwards. We have to move forward."

The Bulls face the Philadelphia 76ers tonight.

Thibs makes a couple of strange calls

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Let me start by saying I believe Tom Thibodeau is doing a very good job with the Bulls this season. He's led the team to a great record so far despite a host of issues and this team should improve as the season progresses.

But with that said, I don't like a few things Thibodeau did in the loss at New Jersey.

First, I thought he waited too long before going back to Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter. I understand his reasoning that the bench was playing well and got them back in the game, but Rose needs to play more than four minutes in the fourth quarter.

Secondly, I thought it was a mistake for Thibodeau to burn the Bulls' final timeout with 49.7 seconds left after a free throw by the Nets' Brook Lopez. As a result, the Bulls had to try and drive the length of the court to get off a shot after the Nets scored to take a two-point lead with 5.3 seconds left.

The Bulls didn't get off a good shot. If they had a timeout, they could have moved the ball to half court and set up a play.

Finally, I believe Luol Deng is playing too many minutes. I'm sorry, but it doesn't make sense to me to play him the entire second half of a January game -- especially considering his injury history. He missed suffered a pair of wear-and-tear leg injuries the last two years (a stress fracture and strained calf) the past two seasons.

Even if it means losing an extra couple of games, I'd play James Johnson a few minutes to reduce Deng's minutes.

Bulls, Nets square for second time in 6 days

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NEWARK, N.J -- If it seems like the Bulls just played the New Jersey Nets, there's a good reason for that -- it's because the teams met six days ago in Chicago.

The Bulls registered a 90-81 victory in a matinee on New Year's Eve at the United Center, and I asked Bulls forward Luol Deng if it was an advantage or a disadvantage to play a team again so soon.

"It's kind of both," Deng said before tonight's game at the Prudential Center. "I think a lot of times you don't want to see teams right away, especially after you beat them. You know, guys get up for games like that and I'm sure Jersey's waiting on us.

"Then again, we have the confidence that we beat them."

Bulls waive Lucas

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The Bulls waived guard John Lucas III before Tuesday night's game with the Toronto Raptors at the United Center.

Lucas, who was signed back in late November when Derrick Rose missed a game, played only a total of 10 minutes in two games during his time with the Bulls.

Non-guaranteed NBA contracts automatically become guaranteed on Jan. 10, but a player has to clear waivers by that point. Wednesday is the last day a player can be let go and clear waivers by the 10th.

Bulls get set for challenging week

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The Bulls' next three games are against teams with losing records, but the upcoming stretch of the schedule is a little more challenging than the assortment of cupcakes they faced last week.

Tuesday night's game with the Toronto Raptors begins an always grueling stretch of four games in five nights. After facing the Raptors at the United Center, the Bulls hit the road for games at New Jersey Wednesday and at Philadelphia on Friday before concluding the stretch Saturday at home against Boston.

Coach Tom Thibideau, though, isn't thinking about the upcoming week.

"Our approach is not to look at it that way, so we're just focused on Toronto and we'll go from there," he said.

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