Thibs still holding out hope for Rose return

NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau doesn't want to shut the door on possible return for Derrick Rose this season and is leaning on his previous experience as an assistant for the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics as guidance.

Thibodeau said on Saturday that Rose was "most likely out" for the postseason but he continues to hold out hope that Rose may be able to play at some point as he continues to recover from ACL surgery.

"When I was in Houston we dealt with Yao (Ming) missing good chunks of the season," Thibodeau said. "In Boston we had a situation one year with (Kevin) Garnett where he got hurt in the first game after the All-Star break and we were hopeful that he would be able to come back and try and he was never able to do it.

"When I was in New York, Patrick (Ewing) missed a majority of the season; I think he got hurt in the 16th game of the year, early December, and he was able to come back during the playoffs. That experience taught me that it's the right thing to do. So if Derrick can come back we want him back."

The constant roster roulette the Bulls have played throughout the season because of various injuries has had an impact on Thibodeau's players.

"We've dealt with it all season long," Thibodeau said. "And I think that's part of the challenge of an NBA season also; it's how quickly you can adapt to things. And now the challenge becomes guys coming back so we're fortunate now where we do have a lot of guys a lot healthier than earlier in the season so it's a plus. But we have to get into rhythm quickly and we can't use that as an excuse. We have to be tied together. Everything's predicated on five-man offense, five-man defense. Offensively it's the timing and spacing. Defensively it's the intensity and protecting each other."

Speaking of timing, Thibodeau noted that he is still hoping that veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton can get into a rhythm and help his team before the season ends. Hamilton played just seven minutes and Thibodeau said part of the reason is because he wants Hamilton to find his flow on the floor again.

"He missed a chunk of the season down the stretch," Thibodeau said. "And then we tried to get him some games at the end just so he can get his rhythm back. A big part of it is his game is that. It's the timing and rhythm or catch and shoot. We just have to be patient and as time goes on we get healthier."