Thibs not worried about timing of Rose return

Derrick Rose is inching closer to his return, but the Bulls won't rush him back. Nick Friedell/ESPN

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Tuesday that he's not worried about the timing of Derrick Rose's return, or whether the young superstar will want to return before the Bulls give the green light.

Rose, 24, is recovering from ACL surgery and taking some contact in practice. The next step will be full contact in practice and then the decision as to when to let him play in a game. Conventional wisdom has that return estimated after the Feb. 17 All-Star Game.

"We're not worried about that," Thibodeau said. "There's constant communication between Derrick and the doctors. It's not going to be a problem.

"(Rose is) very coachable, in all areas. There's high maintenance, low maintenance and no maintenance. He's no maintenance. Whatever you ask him to do he does."

Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is on record saying Rose won't be allowed back on the court until doctors stipulate that he's 100 percent.

Speaking The Truth

Thibodeau downplayed the inspirational value of the verbal undressing he gave his team before they blew out the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

"My job is to tell them the truth as I see it," Thibodeau said. "Each day, for us to improve, we have to know the things we're not doing well. Sometimes you do it through film, sometimes meetings, sometimes practice and sometimes it's all three.

"Usually with this team when we practice well we play well. We had some slippage and when you don't have the opportunity to practice -- whether it's back to back games -- there's going to be some slippage, but you still have to have the ability to make corrections and be ready to play."

Thibodeau pointed out those things in strong fashion during Monday morning's shoot-around and then his players gave up the fewest points in team history that night.

"We're used to it," Kirk Hinrich said. "He's very emotional. He takes getting us ready very seriously. We as professionals need to do the same thing."

Now the key is maintaining that intensity after one of the better wins of the season. The Bulls haven't always done that after big wins. Three victories over the New York Knicks, for example, have been followed by lackluster losses. Wednesday, against Toronto, will be another chance after beating the Hawks so handily.

"If you have a good win you don't have it all figured out," Thibodeau said. "Even when you win there are a lot of things that you have to do better... Usually when you lose you're more aware. It shouldn't be that way but ... it is."