PHILADELPHIA — Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Wednesday he would like to see injured guard Derrick Rose play for Team USA this summer in advance of the World Cup of Basketball in Spain.
“Oh, absolutely,” said Thibodeau, who is an assistant on the Team USA staff. “If he’s healthy and he’s cleared — like I thought it was a great experience for him before [in 2010]. I know he’d like to do it. I know how USA Basketball feels about him. If he’s cleared to do it, I’d love to see him do it.”
If he’s healthy and he’s cleared — like I thought it was a great experience for him before [in 2010]. I know he’d like to do it. I know how USA Basketball feels about him. If he’s cleared to do it, I’d love to see him do it.
— Tom Thibodeau, on Derrick Rose
Thibodeau’s comments come a week after Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski told ESPNChicago.com that while he would like to see Rose compete in camp in Las Vegas and earn a spot on the team, it will be up to the Bulls’ front office to decide whether he will play. Rose tore his meniscus on Nov. 22 and has been ruled out for this season.
“If they allow him to come, then that means he’s allowed to play,” Krzyzewski said. “We’ve had it before where the club says, ‘We don’t think he should participate this summer,’ and we understand that. That’s why we have a pool of players and not select just 12.”
Thibodeau said Krzyzewski and Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo have final say on the roster.
“The thing that I have a lot of respect for, and Jerry and Mike have both said this, is they’re never going to put a player in harm’s way,” Thibodeau said. “So if a team doesn’t feel it’s in the best interest of the player, they’re not going to put pressure on a player to play. They’re always going to do what’s best for the player and that’s why [the program’s] been so successful. I think there’s been great benefits from it, particularly for Derrick. I thought [his World Championships experience in 2010] had a lot to do with him having the great year, the MVP year.”
Rose is still not close to practicing, but Thibodeau said Wednesday that the 2010-11 league MVP could practice at some point before the season ends.
“He’s doing fine,” said Thibodeau, whose team will have 14 regular-season games remaining after playing the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. “He’s doing a little bit more, but he’s nowhere close to practice so at this point maybe he’ll get a couple practices at the end [of the season], but we just want him to lock into the rehab and making sure that he’s 100 percent healthy.”
Thibodeau and Krzyzewski said Team USA will be in contact with the Bulls throughout the summer in regard to Rose’s condition.
“There’s a plan for him,” Thibodeau said. “And it’s based on … it’s going to be step by step. So when he masters one phase and we feel it’s good enough, we’ll move onto the next. So he’s moving along pretty much as planned and we’ll see where he is in the summer.”