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Rose faces orbital surgery after first day of practice

Unlucky injury clouds otherwise productive first training camp practice

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By Sam Smith | 9.29.2015 | 9:10 p.m.

Yes, Mrs. Lincoln. But other than that, how did you like the play?

It was a productive first day of Bulls practice Tuesday morning under new coach Fred Hoiberg.

Yes, other than that.

“That” was once again Derrick Rose’s luck turning bad.

Rose sustained, according to a statement released by the Bulls later in the afternoon, a left orbital fracture that will require surgery. It will be performed at Rush University Medical Center Wednesday. The statement said a timetable for recovery and return will be determined following the surgery.

It’s obviously a bad break for the Bulls and Rose, not only it being the first day of team practice for the 2015-16 season, but it is following Rose’s most productive summer of workouts since his ACL tear in April 2012. Rose this summer not coming off surgery had no limitations on what he could do and for how long.

The mishap thus continues a historic run of misfortune for the Bulls former league MVP and All-Star, who has missed more than 200 games with more than a half dozen different injuries in the last five years. However, this injury is not generally considered nearly as serious and the timetable, assuming surgery is successful without complications, often is about three or four weeks out. Thus Rose still could be ready for the home opener against Cleveland Oct. 27. Yet, with the season still a month away, it’s obviously more important for Rose to heal completely and not risk a recurrence.

Mike Dunleavy is taking that sort of cautious approach following his back surgery last week and indicated Monday the priority is not an eight to 10-week return estimate but when he is healthy and not risking another injury before the playoffs.

Rose likely will have to wear a face mask upon his return. History suggests one of the big hurdles in recovery is avoiding another hit in the face. But wearing such a protective mask is almost routine these days in the NBA after facial injuries. Former Bull Richard Hamilton basically adopted the mask for the remainder of his career after breaking his nose in the 2003-04 season. Among players who have worn masks to protect facial injuries in recent seasons are LeBron James, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Jason Terry and Joe Johnson.

Terry and Johnson suffered orbital fractures that required surgery. Terry missed five games in the 2009-10 season and Johnson missed six playoff games and 16 days in the 2005 playoffs. Rajon Rondo missed six games for the fracture last season. Obviously, the tenure for any recovery depends on the severity of the injury and the success of the surgery. Hedo Turkoglu missed three weeks and 10 games at the end of the 2009-10 season, but he returned for the playoffs. Chris Bosh missed the last 12 games of the 2009-10 season, though the belief in Toronto then was Bosh didn’t want to risk another injury with a team that missed the playoffs and risk the free agency he was planning in joining LeBron James in Miami.

Still, it’s a bitter blow for Rose and the Bulls.

Hello, Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich.

Though the Bulls have been proud of their depth coming into this season, much of that strength has been concentrated up front. Brooks and Hinrich are considered the primary guard backups for Rose, though Jimmy Butler has lobbied all summer for Hoiberg to give him a chance at point guard. Perhaps he’ll get that chance now. It’s unlikely the Bulls add a point guard, especially for a preseason in which Hoiberg said he’d play varying lineups and do a lot of mixing and matching. And Rose may not be out for an extended period of time.

Butler even joked after practice Tuesday morning before anyone knew the severity of Rose’s injury that he got to play point guard for a possession.

“I’m probably going to play a little bit of the five,” Butler said with a smile when asked about his versatility and playing point guard. “I played a little point guard today, actually, for half a possession. Then I had to give the ball back. I think it’s going to be a lot of different lineups. Doug [McDermott] at the three, maybe Doug at the two. Niko (Mirotic) at the three and the four. We have so many guys that are so versatile they can play multiple positions. I think that makes it easier on offense and defense because on defense you can do a lot of switching.

“I didn’t really see the play,” Butler said when asked about Rose’s fall. “I know he went baseline, probably made a pretty athletic play, hit the corner and then all I saw is him go down. He rolled over. I don’t know. I was probably too busy waiting for the ball to come back to me. I saw him in the training room after practice.

“Probably (happened) midway through, right before we started getting up and down a little bit,” Butler added.

“We don’t know the severity of it,” Taj Gibson said later about Rose when asked by reporters. “Hopefully, it’ll be fine. He’s tough. It was just one of those plays in practice where everybody’s going hard. It was tough, real physical out there. Hopefully he’ll be OK.”

You know for the Bulls, if there’s injury news it seems it will be bad.

It further clouded an overcast day in Chicago that was unlike the inside mood following Hoiberg’s first official practice day.

“I thought it was really good,” said Hoiberg of Day 1 before the Rose news came back. “Guys picked things up very quickly. It was very competitive once we started getting up and down. There was a lot of teaching in this early part of the season, trying to implement some of the new things we’re trying to do and get everyone on the same page. It was a competitive, hard practice. That’s the great thing about this group. They’ve been around the NBA a long time. With our thinking, we have to be a little careful with the load we put on this group, especially some of the guys and their summer like Pau (Gasol playing for Spain). We have to be careful and make sure he’s fresh for the opener on the 27th. But for the most part, they pick things up very quickly. I was very pleased with the flow of the practice. Now it’s about building and getting better every day.

“Bobby Portis has a great element of giving good energy in practice,” said Hoiberg of the rookie. “Joakim (Noah) was awesome, talking in huddles, getting guys going, great enthusiasm. Energetic. Explosive and played with a great swagger. That’s how Joakim is.
You expect that out of a veteran group. Guys come in and know what they’re doing. They’re pros and work hard. Jimmy was phenomenal. He’s in great shape. All the hard work he put in this offseason you can tell. He added new elements to his game. He was terrific. He was getting to the basket, cutting at the right time.

“Derrick took an elbow to the face,” Hoiberg then added. “He’s getting that checked out right now. He looked great when he was out there. But he took a good hard elbow.”

That soon became painfully obvious.

It’s such a reversal for Rose given how many times he’s had to go through rehabilitation. For all the discussion about injuries and games missed and his impact on the team, which is substantial, it’s equally difficult to imagine a person having to put himself through rehabilitation of some sort some half dozen times or more. Who exactly wants to do that? But here’s Rose again, and again around the Bulls and this time their new coach the daily query will be on the health and timetable regarding Rose.

There were a lot of media questions Tuesday about trying to compare Hoiberg with former coach Tom Thibodeau, which certainly was impossible after one practice. Most players sort of shrugged and tried with nothing much revealing.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” said Taj Gibson, who was a pleasant health surprise after ankle surgery by going through the entire practice and even saying he took lob dunks. “It was a lot of talking. It’s good to have a lot of coaches giving their opinions on things. We were able to get a lot of feedback from each of the coaches, so it was cool. It’s only the first day, a lot of teaching. He’s (Hoiberg) really easygoing. So if anyone’s got a problem, they’re able to go talk to him freely. We’re veterans now; we’re not young bucks anymore. So it was much easier for us to understand.

“It’s an exciting roster,” Gibson added. “You look at everybody from top to bottom you have a lot of guys who could be other places and really start. It’s a talented roster.”

Especially in the backcourt, where an upbeat and positive Butler and a determined Rose were raising possibilities.

“Very, very good,” Butler said about a backcourt with he and Rose. “He looks incredible out there, making the right plays, being athletic, scoring the basketball, passing it. I think we can do some damage in this league, but like I said we have to stay healthy.’’

Like they seem to always say.