Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Derrick Rose is a long way from practicing with the team, but he refused to get any more specific.
“Who knows?” Thibodeau said at Tuesday’s shootaround. “He’s a long ways away from that, but he’s doing well.”
Rose has largely stayed out of public view while recovering from a torn ACL, other than his Adidas commercial and the Web documentary that focused on his recovery.
He was seen Monday at the Berto Center running sprints as the Bulls concluded practice. Late January appears to be the best-case scenario for Rose returning to game action, with mid-February a more realistic goal.
“He’s doing fine, but we’re not going to get into daily updates,” Thibodeau said. “He’s focused on his rehab, he’s got a long way to go, and we have to concentrate on our next opponent and our improvement.”
Belinelli gets starting call:
Before Tuesday’s game, coach Tom Thibodeau explained why he chose Marco Belinelli to start in place of Richard Hamilton, who suffered a torn plantar fascia in his left foot Saturday.
“I just think it fits best right now,” he said. “Nothing’s etched in stone, but he’s played well and Jimmy (Butler’s) played well coming off the bench. We’ll see how it goes.”
Belinelli is statistically the Bulls’ best 3-point shooter at 40.7 percent. Overall, though, the native of Bologna, Italy, has shot 36.8 percent and averaged 5.0 points.
Butler has been playing more minutes than Belinelli lately, but Thibodeau decided to keep Butler in a reserve role, where he usually enters with Taj Gibson to increase the team’s defensive energy.
“That group’s played really well together, and they’re starting to build some chemistry,” Thibodeau said. “So that was a big part of it.”
Marco feels the love:
Marco Belinelli freely admits he has had a rough start after signing with the Bulls as a free agent. The former New Orleans Hornets guard is hoping a stint in the starting lineup will help.
“I remember the first time (I came here), I was nervous about my defense, about my offense, too,” he said. “A lot of plays, everything, new guy on the team.
“But right now I’m good. I love the team. I love coach. I love the organization. I love the fans, so it’s just perfect. I’m going to try and do my best to win the game.”
Before Tuesday’s contest, the Bulls had won 14 of the last 16 games against Indiana at the United Center. … The Pacers have a set of brothers on the team, Tyler and Ben Hansbrough. “Every once in awhile, you’ll see a harder than usual screen in practice and you wonder if you’ve got to step in there,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “But it’s just healthy brotherly love.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.