After getting treatment but doing little else on a day off, Derrick Rose said his back feels fine and he expects to play tonight against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena. But it will be a game-time decision.
''My back feels better. I should be ready to go tonight,'' Rose said prior to the Bulls' shootaround. ''Game-time decision. I'll see how it is when I go out there and I should be all right.''
Rose, who did not participate in the shootaround, said he enjoyed a relatively leisurely day off in New Orleans.
''It was great. I laid around the whole day,'' he said. ''I really don't get that much time to do that. But since I'm here, I don't know too many people here, so I had the whole day to myself.''
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose will play if he can. So resting Rose against the 4-21 Hornets or the 3-22 Charlotte Bobcats on Friday in preparation for games against the Celtics on Sunday in Boston and the following Thursday at the United Center is not an option.
''If he can play, he should play,'' Thibodeau said. ''This notion of guys sitting out games ... pretty soon we'll be at the point where a guy sits out the whole season and just plays in the playoffs. I don't get that.''
Thibideau said the coaching staff is trying to pace the team through the season by not practicing as much or as hard on off days. On Wednesday, the Bulls had meetings and a film session, but did not practice as a team.
But with the pace of the post-lockout season, this is uncharted territory to a degree. The Bulls have played 27 regular-season games in the first 60 days since training camp opened. Last season they had played 13 regular-season games in the same span. The wear-and-tear factor might have to be managed differently.
''I think how you pace your team is important,'' Thibodeau said. ''Everything you're doing, you're projecting what you need [to do] to be playing your best at the end of the season and to be as healthy as you possible can.''