After muddling through a 5-8 February in which they were 2-7 against playoff teams, the Bulls are desperate for a jolt of energy that only Derrick Rose can provide. But for now, Lou Amundson will have to do.
The 6-9 journeyman forward, who had been cut by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 8, signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls on Saturday. A Tom Thibodeau-style high-energy player, Amundson could play Saturday night against the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center.
Still, the only pertinent news on the Bulls beat is old news -- Rose is ''doing great'' and has ''a great frame of mind'' in his rehabilitation from knee surgery, according to Thibodeau.
''He's right where he should be,'' Thibodeau said. ''[He] just has to keep improving every day. He's got a great frame of mind. He's improving.
''He's put a lot of work in his shooting. Obviously with the time off that gave him time to do that. But in all areas -- he's worked hard on his body. So he's come along well.''
Richard Hamilton, who missed the Bulls' victory over the 76ers game with back spasms, will not play against the Nets, Thibodeau said.
Taj Gibson (sprained MCL) will miss his third consecutive game since suffering a sprained MCL against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Though expected to miss another week, Gibson ''had a good work day'' at the Bulls' shootaround Saturday morning at the Berto Center. ''It's all encouraging,'' Thibodeau said of the Bulls' injury status.
Luol Deng, who had some bottom teeth loosened and was suffering from headaches after getting hit by the Sixers' Spencer Hawes' elbow on Thursday night, is no longer suffering headaches and will play against the Nets.
Outside of Rose's return, the Bulls are most in need of the kind of energy that a Amundson brings. As was evident with Joakim Noah's triple double against the 76ers on Thursday night, effort makes the biggest difference for the Bulls against all but the very best NBA teams.
''Energy. Effort. Experience,'' Thibodeau said when asked what Amundson brings to the team. ''He's been on some good teams. That helps.''
Amundson received an intense baptism into Thibodeau's system at Saturday's shootaround. And unlike Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli, there's little or no retro-fitting involved with introducing a player such as Amundson to the Bulls' rotation.
''He could play [against the Nets],'' Thibodeau said. ''In situations like this, that's where experience is important. Obviously you would hold back, you'd have a limited playbook in terms of what you were doing. But you can manage.''
Amundson has been a bit player with six teams in his seven-year NBA career, averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13 minutes per game in 308 games (seven starts, all with Golden State in 2010-11).
The Celtics, Knicks and Heat reportedly also showed interest in Amundson since the Timberwolves cut him. He was happy to go to a contending team. ''Being part of a good team is important to me,'' the 30-year-old Amundson said. ''Defensively I think I can do some things and help this team. But really just try to play hard and try to bring that energy every night.''
Amundson's first workout with the Bulls quickly made an impression on him.
''Just how thorough everything was today,'' he said. ''I really haven't been part of a shootaround like that, where it's been that thorough where we go over every little thing. So I can tell the attention to detail is there for sure.''
Amundson signed as a free agent with the Timberwolves last offseason after playing with the Indiana Pacers in 2011-12. But he only played in 20 of 46 games for the Timberwolves (8 minutes per game) after playing in 60 games for the Pacers.
''You have to kind of be around me enough and see me play day-in and day-out to really appreciate what I bring to the team,'' Amundson said. ''I do work hard. I think [Thibodeau] can appreciate that.''