The past two seasons the Chicago Bulls have seen their roster depleted by injuries around the time that the playoffs roll around. In 2012 Chicago lost both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to season ending injuries in their series against the Philadelphia 76ers and ended up losing the series in six games. Last season Chicago entered the playoffs without Derrick Rose and with Joakim Noah on minute restrictions due to issues with his foot. To make matters worse, Kirk Hinrich missed Chicago’s final eight playoff games due to injury, while Luol Deng missed the final seven games. Thus, Chicago was without three of their most valuable players for the entire second round matchup against the Miami Heat in which they ended up losing in five games.
With the past two seasons as key examples, it is very important that the Bulls are 100 percent as a team by the time the playoffs come around. Therefore, it is vital that coach Tom Thibodeau monitors the minutes of his players during the early portion of the season. Thibodeau has received a great deal of criticism for playing his players too much during the regular season and having a worn out and injury prone team come playoff time.
It appears as though Thibodeau has taken note of the criticism as he has been resting some of his veteran players during the preseason. Most recently, Thibodeau held Hinrich and Noah out of back-to-back practices. Neither of the players are currently injured, but they both recovered from serious injuries this offseason and Thibodeau was taking caution; and rightfully so. The former coach of the year explained that he wants to make sure that they are completely healed and healthy for Chicago’s first preseason game this Saturday against the Indiana Pacers.
Bulls fans should be very enthused that their coach is taking caution of his players’ health as it has been one of the Bulls’ weaknesses over the past few seasons. The sky is the limit for the Bulls this year if they can stay healthy, but that is a big “if.” The Bulls have not been able to have a healthy postseason roster since 2011 when they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, but it is very reassuring that coach Thibodeau is taking precaution this early in the season.
Jon Keller is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @jkell2005