Rose joins Bulls on bench vs. Nets

Derrick Rose continued his regular pregame routine Saturday before Game 1. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose didn't play Saturday in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, but he did sit with his team on the bench, and coach Tom Thibodeau said that may continue with more healthy players.

"There's two schools of thought on that," Thibodeau said. "He was doing a lot of rehab work before, and we had so many guys that were hurt, I actually didn't want them all on the bench. I just thought it was more important for our guys to be focused on guys that we had. That part was really me. Now that we've gotten guys healthy he may be out there more."

Before Saturday night's game, Rose had sat on the bench just once so far this season, on March 3 against the Indiana Pacers. Thibodeau has been quick to caution not to read much into Rose sitting with his teammates, but after saying Saturday morning that Rose was "most likely out" for the playoffs, Thibodeau wedged the door open yet again regarding Rose's status during the postseason.

"I guess there's always a chance," Thibodeau said. "He's worked extremely hard, and he wants to be out there very badly. I know I've said it often that he's close, and he is, but he can't quite make that final step. And until he can do that we're just going to have to remain patient. And I mentioned (Saturday) morning it's unlikely that he'll play (in the postseason). But the way the playoffs are structured, a week from now maybe he does make that final step. So I don't ever want to rule it out, but nothing's really changed."

Thibodeau maintains the constant questions regarding Rose's status has not been a problem for his team.

"It hasn't been an issue," Thibodeau said. "It hasn't been a distraction. We understood going into the season what we were going to have to deal with. We knew going in that no one player is going to replace Derrick and our only chance was to do it collectively. And I think for the most part our team's done a great job with that."

Thibodeau also noted, as he has in recent weeks, that if Rose wakes up and feels he can play then he would let him play.

"His game is very unique," Thibodeau said. "You know it's explosion, speed, quickness, change of direction, so many different things -- and he has to be able to do that. He has to be able to cut freely and until he's real comfortable with that final step we have to be very careful with putting him out there. We've waited this long, and if it means we have to wait another week, two weeks, until next year, so be it. But I just think we have to remain patient with (the situation)."