Derrick Rose insisted his hamstring injury was no big deal on the night it happened. He took that thought to another level Thursday by saying he's game-ready despite sitting out practice the last two days.
"If the game was today, I would be playing," Rose said Thursday at the Berto Center. "I'm not worried about that. That should ease everybody's mind."
Rose says he's ready, but it wouldn't be a shock if the Bulls act more conservatively with their star guard this weekend. They have back-to-back games for the first time this season, playing at Toronto on Friday, followed by Eastern Conference-leading Indiana on Saturday at the United Center.
Coach Tom Thibodeau is typically not very candid when discussing injury status and this was no exception.
"It's day-to-day," Thibodeau said. "He's a little bit better today. We'll see where he is tomorrow. It's a game-time decision."
Rose suffered the right hamstring injury late in Monday's victory over Cleveland. The team is calling it a sore right hamstring, so it doesn't even qualify for "strain" status.
The Bulls had a rare three-day break after the Cleveland game, giving Rose a chance to get some rest. After the team finished practice Thursday, Rose stretched out with help from director of sports performance Jen Swanson, then shot baskets for about a half-hour. He said the hamstring still feels a little tight.
Swanson is a new addition to the Bulls' staff this season. She worked with Rose in Los Angeles over the last two years.
"She knows everything," Rose said. "I've been working with her at (Athletes' Performance, a workout center in Carson, Calif.) for two years now. She knows my body even better than I do.
"This is the most I ever took care of my body as far as staying off my feet, recovery, massages. Little frustrating stuff like this happens. I can't get myself frustrated about it. I've just got to go out there and continue to do what I do when I step on the court, and that's play hard. Off the court, really eat right, change my diet a little bit more, and really take care of my body like I've been doing."
During preseason, Rose seemed to be back to old self after missing all of last season recovering from ACL surgery. Once the games started for real, though, it has been a struggle for Rose and the entire Bulls team.
He's averaging 14.7 points, 4.5 assists and a league-high 4.2 turnovers per game. The good news is after a turnover-free game against the Cavs, Rose finally has more assists than giveaways. He's shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range.
"As long as I'm going out there and playing the way I normally play, I could care less about my performance," Rose said. "I'm putting my all into my workouts. When I go out there and play, I'm trying to win the game.
"So as far as performance, I could really care less about it, as long as I'm trying my hardest when I'm out there. (And bringing) the right effort to go out there and make my teammates better and try to get the win."
The Bulls (3-3) could build some momentum this weekend by getting their first road win of the season in Toronto, then knocking off undefeated Indiana.
But there's also a good chance the medical staff won't feel as confident as Rose about playing in both games.
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