NBA Beat: When the Bulls get Derrick Rose back remains a mystery

Published: Sunday, Mar. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 17, 2013 - 10:16 am

Chicago Bulls fans might be more intrigued with pregame workouts than most fans these days.

That's the only chance they have to see the Bulls' best player, the 2011 league MVP, Derrick Rose, on the court.

There are reports that Rose could return this week. Or next season. No one really knows.

But he easily could not play for a while, as the Bulls have seen while Rose has been cautious to return from the torn ACL he suffered in the first round of last season's Eastern Conference playoffs.

But no one is crying for the Bulls, who are in sixth place in the East. They would likely be higher if Rose were healthy.

The Bulls also have been without Rose's replacement, Kirk Hinrich, lately with a stress fracture, and key reserve forward Taj Gibson (knee) also has been out.

"Nobody cares about that," said Bulls forward Carlos Boozer. "Every team has somebody out. They're not going to feel sorry for us, so we can't use that as an excuse. We've got to win games."

The Bulls are 36-29, a good record considering they've played the entire season without Rose.

But when you consider the Bulls were 29-18 on Feb. 2, it's easy to see why they are disappointed in their position.

"It starts from me all the way down to the rookie, Marquis (Teague)," said Bulls guard Nate Robinson. "We've just got to find a way to come together.

"We've got to continue to find that fight, that edge, that we played with at the beginning of the season and bring that back and figure out a way to win," he added.

The Bulls rebounded from a 42-point loss to the Kings on Wednesday by beating the Warriors two days later.

But Chicago is struggling to find the consistency it needs to be considered a serious threat once the playoffs start.

The Bulls might be the team best equipped to dethrone the Miami Heat in the East.

But that's only if they are healthy.

At this rate, even if Rose returns, the Bulls would be hard-pressed to contend. Rose would need time to find his rhythm.

The Bulls also would be without homecourt advantage unless they manage to creep back to the fourth seed for homecourt in the first round.

But all those "ifs" are contingent on if and when Rose returns.

Until then, you can catch Rose during a pregame workout until he's 100 percent and ready to return to games.

Stat watch – If the Miami Heat wins at Toronto today, it would tie the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the second-longest winning streak in league history with 22 victories.

The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers hold the record with 33 consecutive wins.

It's not safe to assume the Heat will win against the Raptors, who enter the game with a 26-40 record. Some of Miami's toughest wins during the streak have come against teams with losing records.

Charlotte, Cleveland, Orlando, Philadelphia and Sacramento have all been feistier than expected in losing to the Heat.

And if Miami does win, the rival Boston Celtics will be waiting Monday.

Tweet of the Week – "It wasn't in the scouting reports that the clippers threw lobs lol" – Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight (@BrandonKnight07), poking fun at himself on Twitter after being on the wrong side of Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan's highlight dunk last Sunday.

Knight was the subject of Internet jokes after the 6-foot-3, 189-pound guard jumped and attempted to stop Jordan (6-11, 265) on a lob dunk.

The result was not pretty for Knight. Jordan threw down an emphatic dunk, and Knight went crashing to the floor.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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