MIAMI -- Derrick Rose stood in the locker room, joking with teammates following the Game 5 loss to the Heat on Wednesday.
He's still part of the team and spent all season among his teammates. With the season over now, the Derrick Rose Watch can finally end.
Rose declined to answer questions after the game. As usual, coach Tom Thibodeau was left to summarize the biggest news of the 2012-13 season for the Bulls -- The Return was postponed.
"He has to keep working. I think he's in a pretty good place, mentally," Thibodeau said. "If we were going to make a mistake, we wanted to make a mistake on the side of caution. We feel good about where he is. He has the whole summer to build more confidence and that's the important thing.
"As we said after he first had the surgery, we weren't going to rush him back. We held to that and I think it was the smart decision.
It's been more than a year since Rose had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He was given a timetable of 9-12 months, but Thibodeau didn't want to say the rehab didn't go as well as planned.
"You didn't know. We didn't know. He didn't know," Thibodeau said. "He heeded Jerry (Reinsdorf's) advice from the beginning, to not rush it. To make sure you're completely comfortable before you get out there. It's too important of a decision for him to rush. … We want him completely healthy."
Rip rises again:
Once again, Richard Hamilton provided a lift, scoring 15 points in Game 5. Three days ago, it seemed like Hamilton's career with the Bulls was already over.
He'd made two brief appearances in the Brooklyn series, then didn't play at all against Miami until Game 4 when Marco Belinelli got into foul trouble. Hamilton played the final 15:49 in Game 5.
It's easy to say Hamilton should have played more, but for the most part in these playoffs, Belinelli played very well, while Hamilton was coming off a late-season back injury.
"He played well today," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You've got to make decisions that you think are best for the team. That's what I did. You've got to look at how the team functions. He did a good job today. Give him credit. He's a pro. That's what he's paid to do."
James ends foul-free streak:
LeBron James went nearly two hours of playing time in this series without being called for a foul. The streak began in the first quarter of Game 2 and finally ended late in the first quarter of Game 5 when Jimmy Butler stole a pass and James was called for a hold.
Early in Game 5, James threw a shoulder into Nate Robinson and the nearest official, Bennett Salvatore, signaled an offensive foul on James, But he was overruled by Tony Brothers, who spotted a foul on Robinson.
Deng stays home:
Not surprisingly, Luol Deng did not make the trip to Miami.
He's still struggling with the aftereffects of a spinal tap administered May 2 and the subsequent loss of spinal fluid.
"He's still not feeling well ... obviously, he wants to be here, but he's got to get better first," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He's got to prioritize his health."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.