Derrick Rose will make his long-awaited re-introduction to the court Saturday in the Bulls first preseason game against the Indiana Pacers. Rose last played April 28, 2012.
While emotions will run high, the high energy from Joakim Noah will not be present as the center will miss the game with a sore groin. While not too serious, the team is erring on the side of caution and Noah could miss some more preseason games as well. He suffered the injury when he slipped on a wet spot on the practice facility floor on Monday during some drills that the big’s were being put through.
The Bulls had Tuesday off and Noah sat three straight days following that.
“I want to let him get some practices where he feels good and then get him out there,” coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters. “We had a problem again (Friday) with the floor. We started scrimmage and had to stop. It’s unfortunate.”
The team had to cut the scrimmage session of Thursday’s practice short because of the rain causing the humidity in the gym to rise, which led to a wet floor.
Kirk Hinrich returned to practice and told reporters that he plans to play Saturday after missing the last two practices with back spasms.
Everyone else will be ready to go, but none more than Rose, who turned 25 today.
“It’s going to be exciting, man, nut just take it as a regular game and try and go out there and win,” he said. “But for us, it’s our time to tune things up.”
According to various sources who’s witnessed the scrimmages, Rose has dominated at times, breaking down the defense and getting to his spots. He has talked about his wind and game-conditioning being the most critical element that’s left to get over.
“He’s prepared himself for this,” Thibodeau said. “Nobody is going to take it easy on Derrick because he’s coming back. I don’t know how long he’ll be able to play. We’ll see. Based on what he’s shown so far, he’s in great shape. If he doesn’t play the way he normally does, now you can get into trouble. I want him to go out there and if he needs to come out, we’ll get him out.”