From NBA.com staff reports
The Chicago Bulls got a dose of good news as their preseason comes to a close tonight. Star point guard Derrick Rose, who has been on the mend since suffering a fractured orbital bone on Sept. 29, will suit up and play limited minutes against the Dallas Mavericks (8 ET, League Pass).
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has more on Rose’s return and how his playing tonight will shape his minutes for the season-opener next Tuesday. Also worth noting: coach Fred Hoiberg doesn’t plan to start Rose tonight …
Derrick Rose indeed will make his preseason debut Friday when the Bulls play host to the Mavericks in a neutral site home exhibition, their last.
More importantly, both Rose and coach Fred Hoiberg said if Rose’s left eye reacts favorably to game conditions, he’s on track to play in Tuesday’s regular-season opener against the Cavaliers.
“It opens it up even more,” Rose said of the possibility of playing in the opener. “Every day my eye is improving. We’ll see how tonight goes. Everything I need to work on, this gives me a couple days to really work on it so I’m prepared for Tuesday.”
Hoiberg said Rose would play two “four- to five-minute stretches” and play “seven to 10 minutes” overall. Rose’s first stint will come as a reserve with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson up front. The plan is to start him in the second half with starting big men Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.
“I wanted him to play with different combinations. I talked to him about it. He seems to be very comfortable with the plan,” Hoiberg said. “He’s going to be rusty. There’s no doubt about it. He was in practice. But it’s all part of the process to get him ready for the regular season.”
“I’m excited,” Rose said. “I don’t know how I’m going to play. But I’m just happy to be running around and get a groove for the game.”
The Bulls aren’t the only ones who will see their depth chart grow tonight. The Mavs are going to get their first look at their new backcourt of Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews, a particularly surprising feat considering Matthews ruptured his Achilles on March 5. He has been on a fast track to get into the mix by the end of the preseason and will reach his goal. As for D-Will, he has been dealing with calf strains for weeks but expects to suit up.
Shooting guard Wesley Matthews and point guard Deron Williams both plan to play against the Chicago Bulls in Lincoln, Nebraska, after sitting out the previous six preseason games due to injuries.
To the surprise of many, Matthews is on course to reach his goal of playing in the regular-season opener despite rupturing his left Achilles tendon on March 5. The Mavs signed him to a four-year, $70 million contract despite Matthews being in the recovery process from an injury that has hampered many careers.
“As soon as I tore it, I said I was going to be ready,” said Matthews, who bristled when coach Rick Carlisle indicated on media day that the prized free agent would sit out games to start the season.
Carlisle said Sunday that Williams would be sidelined for at least the remainder of the preseason, but the point guard responded well to 3-on-3 work Wednesday and practice Thursday.