Tom Thibodeau gave the usual answer when asked if there's a chance Derrick Rose would return for Thursday's Game 6 against Brooklyn.
"There's always a chance, small as it might be," Thibodeau said as Rose performed his usual post-practice workout at the Berto Center.
With Rose closing in on the one-year anniversary of his ACL surgery, TNT analyst Steve Kerr suggested during a radio interview the Bulls should ask Rose to come back and provide however many minutes he can.
Thibodeau brushed off that advice.
"Derrick owes it to what's right," Thibodeau said. "The more I'm around him, the more I'm impressed with this guy's character. He's not being swayed by anybody. He's not quite there. We made that clear to him from the beginning. We're going to support him in every way possible. I would never question him, ever."
The Rose situation received even more attention as the playoffs began with Joakim Noah struggling with plantar fasciitis and now Kirk Hinrich missing a game with a calf bruise.
"There's a big difference between the type of injury he had and these other injuries, and we certainly appreciate what the other guys are doing," Thibodeau said. "Derrick has had a very serious injury that requires time. He's 24 years old. We're not going to rush him back. When he's completely comfortable, that's when we want him out there.
"If that means we wait another game. If that means we wait until next year, so be it. We want him completely comfortable and we're not going to make that mistake."
Rose and Thibodeau have both said the former MVP will play whenever he's ready. So joining the Bulls in mid-playoff series remains a conceivable outcome.
Kirk Hinrich said Rose's slow progress has not been a bone of contention in the locker room.
"We know what kind of guy he is and what kind of teammate he is," Hinrich said. "I haven't heard one ill word said about it. You give a guy that has that type of character the benefit of the doubt. We know he's such a big part of this organization and this team. But we trust he's making the right decision."
Bulletin board stays empty:
On the heels of Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo using video of a Chicago reporter's halftime interview to try to motivate his players, the Nets provided some strong opinions about the Bulls.
Forward Andray Blatche was quoted by the New York Daily News saying, "There is no doubt in our mind. We are the better team."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau didn't provide much of a response when asked if such words would provide motivation for his side.
"If we have to rely on that ... to me it's meaningless," he said.
The Nets have a talented lineup, no doubt, with 10 all-star appearances among their starters -- Joe Johnson (5), Deron Williams (3), Brook Lopez (1) and Gerald Wallace (1).
Brooklyn guard Joe Johnson said he would probably be sitting out with plantar fasciitis if this were the regular season. He hit 2 game-tying shots in overtime in Game 4, but was less of a factor in Game 5 with 11 points in 39 minutes. ... Nets power forward Reggie Evans missed Wednesday's practice with an illness, but is expected to play in Game 6.