Will new hire help cut down on injuries?
One change the Bulls made this season was hiring Jennifer Swanson as the team's director of sports performance. She'll oversee and coordinate the training staff, strength coaches, massage therapists, nutrition support and anything else that falls into the category.
Derrick Rose has worked with Swanson during his training in Los Angeles and gave her a mention when he talked about his new stretching routines on Saturday at the Berto Center.
"I'm really taking stretching seriously," Rose said. "Before and after (workouts). When I wake up, before I go to sleep. Just trying to get my body as loose as possible. When you have an ACL tear, it's your hamstrings (that) will be the first thing to go. Me building that tolerance up in my leg will help in the long run.
"That's one reason we brought Jen in. She's helped me out with that a lot."
For the past five years, Swanson was physical therapy manager at Athletes Performance in Los Angeles. She was a successful pole vaulter in college at Cal-Davis. Whether she can help the Bulls cut down on serious injuries will be one side story this season.
Longtime strength coach Erik Helland resigned early in the summer to take a similar role with the Wisconsin basketball program. Assistant strength coach Nick Papendieck was promoted to the lead job.
Rose also spoke about his renowned love of candy and whether that has changed.
"I slowed down with candy. I haven't given it up, but I slowed down," he said. "They told me I can't eat wheat or pineapples any more. So I'm eating around that."
This part probably goes without saying, but there were 17 players who practiced for the Bulls on Saturday. It wasn't just the Great Derrick Rose Return session.
Coach Tom Thibodeau gave this assessment after practice No. 1 of training camp:
"I'd say the conditioning in the off-season, I think our guys did a very good job with. But this is the next phase. It's body on body, it's a lot more physical, takes more out of you," he said. "So they got winded very quickly, but that's to be expected. You have to keep pushing through that. Keep establishing your work habits and how we're going to go about things."
Next step for Butler:
Jimmy Butler made a huge improvement last season and coach Tom Thibodeau seems to think Butler took another leap forward. His new talents will stay behind closed gym doors until the Bulls play their first preseason game on Oct. 5 at Indiana.
"Jimmy changed. He's in a different place," Thibodeau said. "There's no short cuts with him. He puts the work in."
Derrick Rose hasn't spent much time in the same lineup as Butler, but that will change quickly, since those two are expected to be the Bulls' starting backcourt this season.
"He can give people (heck) out on the court," Rose said of Butler. "He's a guy where he's got the same mentality I've got. He's going to go after the ball."
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