"At some point you've got to move past that," Thibodeau said before Wednesday's shootaround. "The games are going to keep coming so we've gotten past it before. It's not like this is the first time this has happened. Three years ago he was out for a significant amount of time during the season. Of course, it was the lockout year -- we didn't know when he was playing, when he wasn't playing, so this is more similar to that.
"But we also know this season he's out for the rest of the year. Last year we thought there was a possibility he could come back and play at some point. That didn't happen, so as I said many times before, in the NBA you could find something every night. And we have enough here. We have to get our determination, our fight, we got to get that back and we got to be a 48-minute team."
The Bulls have struggled emotionally to come to grips with the fact that Rose is done for the season. They blew a 21-point lead to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday when Rose tore the medial meniscus in his right knee. They lost by 39 points to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday -- the day it was announced Rose would have surgery on the knee and would be out indefinitely. And then on Monday night, the day Rose had the surgery and it became official he would not return this season, the Bulls lost to a Utah Jazz team that came into the contest with a 1-14 record.
Thibodeau knows his team has been dealt some tough blows, but he also is hoping they can bounce back like they have done in the past.
"In some ways it's similar to the point of we had the summer to prepare for Derrick not being there [a year ago]," Thibodeau said. "So now we can start our preparations knowing OK, he's not back for the rest of the season. That's fine. We know that you don't replace someone like Derrick individually. There's no one that can step in and say, 'OK, you're going to do what Derrick does.' That doesn't work like that. So for us, the way we did it in the past was we had to do it collectively.
"And there's certain things that you can do where you can make your team function well. And there's a way to win and we have to figure that out. Our team defense requires everyone to do their job and be tied together. Team offense, it's five-man offense, everybody has to do their part to make it function well, and if you do that, you'll give yourselves a chance to win."
Thibodeau understands changes can happen during the season, but few could have expected another serious injury to Rose.
"Hey look, going into this season when I was preparing this summer, I was looking at our first month and I knew we would be tested," he said. "We have a heavy road schedule. We're playing tough people right off the bat, a lot of them on the road, and when I look at this trip, there's games we could have had on this trip. So we've got to keep concentrating on improving. And each and every day put everything you have into it, get ready for the next one."