Bulls have backup plan ready to go

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Even though Derrick Rose sounded like he expects to play Friday night at Toronto, the rest of his Chicago Bulls teammates are prepared to take the court without him.

There is no emergency backup plan to unveil since the Bulls know exactly what it’s like to not have Rose on the court. If there is a silver lining to Rose’s absence last season following knee surgery it’s that everybody knows their places on the stage when the star is unavailable for the performance.

And the reality this year was that Rose was probably going to have to sit some nights anyway.

“I don’t know if anybody really thought about that,” said backup point guard Kirk Hinrich. “We thought about injuries throughout the season with every team. We dealt with it a lot last year, so hopefully he gets better as soon as he can and we’re just going to keep preparing, try to get ready for the Raptors.”

Hinrich said there will be few adjustments to his in-game routine, save maybe a couple.

“I think it’s just the minutes and just being ready from the jump,” said Hinrich, who has averaged 24 minutes this year, as opposed to Rose’s 31.5. “It’s playing a lot more with the first-unit guys, as opposed to Mike (Dunleavy) or Taj (Gibson) maybe. But the approach is really the same as far as just getting the scouting report, be ready to run the team. In that way, it’s a lot of the same.”

In an odd sort of way, the Bulls wish they didn’t have the ability to transition so easily to game plans that don’t include Rose. They need their floor leader not only to be back on the court every night, but also to be productive like he was in the past.

That is the key component to their success -- more than the ability to shift into an alternate plan so easily.

“We’ve got plenty of experience,” coach Tom Thibodeau said of life without Rose. “We know what we have to do. They’re a tough team. They had a great road win (Wednesday) night. We’re going to have to be ready.”

Hinrich is ready for the added responsibility.

“It’s a little bit (different) because the ball is more in his hands, as opposed to when he’s not in there, it’s more in my hands,” Hinrich said. “The approach isn’t necessarily different, it’s just how I’m playing. When he plays I’m more kind of feeding off him. It really doesn’t change, except I’m not running the team.”