Bulls shake up training staff after missing playoffs

The Chicago Bulls have let go of director of sports performance Jen Swanson and head strength coach Nick Papendieck, according to a league source.

The shake-ups on the training staff are the first tangible changes for a team considered to have underperformed this past season and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

The Chicago Tribune had earlier reported news of Swanson's and Papendieck's departures.

Bulls executive vice president John Paxson acknowledged at an end-of-season news conference that the organization would evaluate all of its options, when asked specifically whether medical and training staff changes would be in order given the injuries the Bulls have dealt with the past few seasons.

"We've begun a process of digging deeper into that, yes," Paxson said last month. "Again, it's early in that process. ... We are looking at ways to improve and be proactive in that area. And [general manager Gar Forman]'s done a lot of background -- he's started the process of looking into some things, yes."

Swanson was originally hired in the summer of 2013. She was brought in, in large part, because of her close relationship with Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Swanson was hired away from Athletes Performance in Los Angeles, where she worked with Rose as he made his way back from an ACL tear in his left knee in April 2012.

The feeling within the Bulls organization was that Swanson's presence would help keep Rose's body in order as he made his way back from knee surgery. She would also oversee the rest of the team as it worked its way back from the various injuries that accumulate during an 82 game season. But after sitting out the entire 2012-13 season, Rose tore the medial meniscus in his right knee in the 2013-14 season after playing just 10 games.

Swanson's rehab plans chafed other players at various points, according to sources. As a group, the Bulls missed 211 games during the 2015-16 season because of injury or illness, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

During his final season as Bulls coach in 2015, Tom Thibodeau famously said before a game that he received an email from the training staff as to which players would be out, leading many both inside and out of the organization to wonder just how bad the communication, or lack thereof, had become between Thibodeau and Swanson.

For the Bulls, the shake-ups on the training staff are the first tangible evidence that changes are in order for the team after a disappointing season. The Bulls will select 14th at next month's NBA draft.