INDIANAPOLIS -- Tom Thibodeau may be the happiest person in Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday night. After waiting for almost a year and a half to see Derrick Rose on the floor again, Thibodeau knows that the former MVP's return will help more than just his team -- it will help the entire NBA.
"It's good to have him back," Thibodeau said before Saturday morning's shootaround. "He's put a lot of work into it. The same thing for [Danny] Granger. When you see players like that go through a tough year, you're happy for them. It's good for the league, it's good for everybody. It's certainly good for our team. Granger is good for their team. You never like to see someone out with an injury."
Thibodeau isn't surprised by all the attention Rose's return has garnered.
"The thing is he's a great player, so that's normal," Thibodeau said. "I think the Pacers are going through the same thing with Granger. You have an All-Star -type player, in our case an MVP, there's going to be a lot of attention on that. But you're also looking at two teams that are fighting for something."
Pacers coach Frank Vogel joked Friday that Rose's return, coupled with Granger's return, could make Saturday's affair the biggest preseason game in history -- but he is just trying to keep his team focused on the task at hand.
"We're trying to put that it's Derrick Rose's return out of our mindset and go about our business," Vogel said. "Building the habits that are going to help us win game one of the regular season."
Vogel understands that this game is a tougher preseason ticket than usual. He admitted he's been trying to help some of his friends find a way in.
"I've got some local Chicago Bulls fans that are friends of mine that I offered some tickets up to because they might want to see Derrick come back," Vogel admitted. "But, other than that, nothing's really changed about our approach."