Bulls tangle with T-wolves in Chicago

(SportsNetwork.com) - Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose is expected to undergo knee surgery Friday morning, just hours before his team resumes a seven-game homestand versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Rose will have a meniscectomy on the medial meniscus tear in his right knee and the Bulls are optimistic he can return this season.

"We have a lot of faith in Derrick," Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf told the Chicago Tribune. "We know he has gone through a lot the last few years. We're behind him. And we think he's going to be good. He has put so much effort into his various comebacks. We're hoping this is just a minor setback."

The Bulls lost on Wednesday in a 98-86 decision to the Charlotte Hornets. Pau Gasol, who's expected to take over the scoring load with Jimmy Butler, posted 25 points and 13 rebounds. Butler had 14 points and Aaron Brooks ran the point, finishing with 12.

Charlotte scored 31 points in the final period and held Chicago to 21.

"It's just a weird game," Brooks said. "We have to bring more energy."

Chicago is still 6-2 in its last eight games and 2-1 on the homestand. The LA Clippers, Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City will also visit the Windy City.

The Bulls have a 17-12 record at the United Center and are fourth in the Eastern Conference, just a half-game behind Cleveland.

Minnesota has won five of its last eight games and welcomed back a familiar face Wednesday with a 97-77 victory over the Wizards. Kevin Garnett made his return to the Timberwolves and scored five points with eight rebounds in 19 minutes.

"I don't know if I've ever been in a game in the NBA where there was the energy and the enthusiasm in that building tonight," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "And it's because of one guy."

Kevin Martin scored 28 points, rookie Andrew Wiggins had 19 and Nikola Pekovic registered 15 and 13 boards for the Wolves. The T-wolves had a 53-43 advantage on the glass and posted 21 points on 19 Washington turnovers. The Wizards blew an 18-3 lead early on and gave up a 17-2 surge later on.

After visiting Chicago, the Wolves will play four in a row at home versus Memphis, LA Clippers, Denver and Portland.

Minnesota is only 8-15 against the East and suffered a 106-105 loss at home to the Bulls on Nov. 1. Butler made two key foul shots after a Wiggins foul and scored 24 points. Martin had 33 in that one for Minnesota, which has lost nine of the last 10 games in this series.