Tom Thibodeau didn't wait for the question to end.
"Derrick (Rose) is out for the season," Thibodeau said.
That news hasn't been disputed. But both times Rose has spoken publicly since season-ending surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee, including Wednesday night, the 2010-11 NBA most valuable player couldn't bring himself to admit so publicly.
Does Thibodeau appreciate this competitive mindset?
"Yeah, I mean, for him he has to focus on rehab," Thibodeau said. "That's what he has done. He's doing well. He's a long way away from practice, never mind the game. And you have to remember this guy has been out a long, long time. He may not even get to the practice part this year. The big thing for us is to make sure he's completely healthy."
Rose, who sat on the bench for a home game for the first time since the injury, talked in upbeat fashion Wednesday night about coming back even stronger from his second straight season-ending injury. Thibodeau has no doubts Rose can regain his elite form.
"Nope," Thibodeau said. "None."
Thibodeau called the decision to sit Rose the rest of the season "right" and lauded Rose's demeanor throughout another lengthy rehab.
"One of his great strengths is his attitude," he said. "In the end, this is going to make him even stronger mentally. I saw the way he responded with the ACL. He has an even greater determination now."
Teague time: Marquis Teague has played sparingly since getting traded to the Nets on Jan. 21. He complimented both Thibodeau and Nets coach Jason Kidd, offering this difference.
"(Kidd) lets me make decisions and gives me freedom," Teague said. "So I'm confident."
Layups: The Bulls don't have to sign a 13th player until after the All-Star break, which will aid them in avoiding the luxury tax. ... The Bulls chartered a plane for Joakim Noah to fly to New Orleans for All-Star weekend after Thursday's game. ... Thibodeau planned work for the break but said he hoped to see "The Wolf of Wall Street." Told it had a lot of profanity, Thibodeau cracked: "I love it. Maybe (Mayor) Rahm (Emanuel) will want to go."
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