NEW YORK – The Chicago Bulls were without five key players against the Brooklyn Nets, though coach Tom Thibodeau provided optimistic reports on Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.
Thibodeau said Rose did everything during the morning shootaround and was getting closer to returning from left knee surgery. Gibson injured his left knee Tuesday at Washington, but Thibodeau says an MRI exam showed it was only a slight sprain.
Joakim Noah (right foot), Richard Hamilton (lower back) and Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) also were sidelined Thursday night.
Rose has been cleared to return for some time after tearing his knee in last year's playoff opener and has been called close before. Thibodeau says Rose will know when he is ready to play.