TV: League Pass
- The Derrick Rose saga exploded Friday with a report that a high-ranking team official told ESPN that Rose has been cleared to play in a game by team doctors. That news changed nothing as far as Friday’s game against Utah was concerned, as Rose was still out of action and listed as day-to-day. It was 10 months ago that Rose had his torn ACL surgically repaired and he has been practicing fully with the team for about a month. The report set forth a burst of fan questions about why Rose is not playing yet, even though Rose has said he won’t play until he is mentally prepared to test his knee in a game. “Were just going day to day,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said about Rose’s status. As game time approached and Rose was seen warming up on the United Center floor for almost an hour, Thibodeau was asked again about Rose’s status, and he said he needs to hear from Rose that he is ready. “It comes down to trusting Derrick. I trust him,’’ Thibodeau said.
- Now that Rose is being listed on the day report, he joins three other Bulls who will not play Friday due to injury. Forward Taj Gibson (sprained MCL), Rip Hamilton (back spasms) and Kirk Hinrich (right foot) are out.
- Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz get their leading scorer, Al Jefferson, back after he missed the last three games with a sprained left ankle. Jefferson is averaging 17.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. “He’s healthy, but we will monitor him to see how he is going early,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. The Jazz had close losses in their last two games and Corbin said Jefferson could have helped. “When the game is close at the end, we like to put the ball in his hands,’’ he said.
- After Friday’s game, the Bulls make their last trip west for three games at Los Angeles against the Lakers, at Sacramento and at Golden State. With their recent three game road losing streak, their road record and home record are nearly indentical – 17-14 at home and 17-13 on the road.
– Kent McDill