DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Ah to be young without a care in the world, when you can operate on instinct and flow where the current takes you.
Take Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, for instance. The supremely confident point guard was asked about this weekend’s Bulls schedule, which offers the first instance of back-to-back games this season, and whether or not it will make a difference in his decision to play Friday with a strained right hamstring.
“We got back-to-back?” Rose said with his eyebrows raised. “I didn’t know that. But I should be ready. I’m not worried about that.”
It isn’t just any back-to-back either. After the Bulls play at Toronto on Friday night, they return home Saturday to play the undefeated Indiana Pacers (8-0), who already are threatening to run off and hide in the both the Eastern Conference and Central Division.
Give Rose this: His focus is on the next opponent and nothing else. On the flip side, he’s probably not an easy guy to make dinner reservations with.
Those who are well aware of the Bulls’ first challenge with back-to-back games include the coaching staff and the veteran players who will feel the wear and tear the most.
Kirk Hinrich, a 32-year-old, 10-year veteran, has no choice but to be aware of the upcoming challenges on the schedule. If Rose doesn’t suit up, Hinrich figures to be asked to play well over 30 minutes, something he has done just once in the first six games.
“Well, hopefully we are ready,” Hinrich said. “You don’t really look at back-to-backs any different. You try to win the first game of a back-to-back and then give yourself a chance in the second one. Just more importantly, we’ve got to get a win on the road. (Friday) is a good opportunity against a very good team to get a quality road win.”
While the Bulls have won all three of their home games this season, they have dropped all three away from the United Center.