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Derrick Rose's decision to sit was correct

MINNEAPOLIS -- Derrick Rose admittedly could have played against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday if he'd really wanted to, but he didn't.

And after the Chicago Bulls star sprained both of his ankles in Friday night's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, sitting was the right move.

"It felt all right," Rose said after the game, a 106-105 win for the Bulls. "If it was a real need for me to play I think I could have played. But [I'm] just trying to be smart, trying to give it an extra day and thank God that we came out with the win."

A win in the third game of the season over any team, let alone a bad team like the Timberwolves, is always going to be secondary to Rose's health. The Bulls can't win a championship without Rose, which is why from the outset of training camp the organization has been more cautious than ever regarding his health.

"The most important thing is how he feels," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You can't put somebody out there who's not comfortable to be out there so we're not going to do that. If he needed another day, we'll give him another day. We have two days off here so it's good."

That is the right approach in Rose's case, and one the Bulls' front office has filtered down to Thibodeau since before the season began. While the veteran coach might not be happy with the minutes restrictions being placed on both Rose and Joakim Noah early in the season, he understands that Rose is the Bulls' meal ticket and must be treated differently than the other players.

"The way we're going to approach it is if he needs a day we're going to give it to him," Thibodeau said. "If he doesn't, he'll keep playing. So far, knock on wood, it's been good. That was sort of a freak play. He landed on one ankle and then he landed on the other one. So it was a very unusual play. He'll be fine."

The interesting part of Saturday's decision to sit Rose is that after warming up on the floor, the former MVP said he never spoke to Thibodeau about his status, instead relaying his message to Bulls trainer Jeff Tanaka and director of sports performance Jen Swanson.

"We didn't even talk about it," Rose said of Thibodeau. "He didn't ask me about it to tell you the truth. I told T-Nak, T-Nak and Jen talked to him for a little bit, but as far as me and him talking about it, we didn't talk about it yet."

Is that a red flag in the relationship between star player and coach? No. But it does speak to the fact of how many people are involved in the decision-making process regarding Rose's status. Rose isn't just any other player. He's the man charged with carrying the Bulls to the promised land, despite the fact he came into this season having played just 10 games last season.

Bulls general manager Gar Forman acknowledged before Friday's game that there might be times during the season when the organization would decide to sit Rose on certain nights if he wasn't feeling right. Saturday's game was the first example of that philosophy in action.

"We don't want to jump that far ahead," Forman said on ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy Show" in regard to Rose's status. "We'll evaluate that as we go. Up to this point, he's tolerated everything that's been thrown at him very well. But we evaluate that almost on a daily basis as far as where he's at, and if it any point we feel that he needs some type of rest then we would do so. But up to this point, everything that's been thrown at him, he's handled very well."

That was the case again Saturday. Rose made the right call by deciding to err on the side of caution. Obviously, Thibodeau would love to have his best player on the floor at all times, but it's a decision the veteran coach is going to have to live with at various points during the season.