Illini get ‘must win’ over Huskers 69-57 in Home finale

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

CHAMPAIGN—Rayvonte Rice scored 23 and led Illinois to a badly needed win over Nebraska Wednesday, 69-57.The Illini (19-11, 9-8 Big Ten) have won two straight as they look for a way into the NCAA tournament.Nebraska (13-16, 5-12) has lost seven games in a row and nine of its last 10.Rice had a quiet six-point first half but scored 17 in the second 20 minutes. That included seven straight over a key stretch midway through the half that brought Illinois back from a 40-39 deficit to a 46-42 lead.He drilled home a long 3-pointer with 1:35 left in the game to give Illinois a 59-50 lead.Kendrick Nunn and Leron Black added 11 each for Illinois.Shavon Shields led Nebraska with 14 points. Terran Petteway added 13.

Short handed Bulls stun chippy Wazards,Nene 97-92

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Nikola Mirotic scored 23 points to lead the short-handed Bulls to a 97-92 win Tuesday over the Washington Wizards.The Bulls were without former MVP Derrick Rose (right knee), all-star Jimmy Butler (left elbow), and trusted reserve Taj Gibson (left ankle) but still managed to improve to 4-2 on their season-high seven-game homestand.Along with Mirotic, Aaron Brooks had 22 points while Pau Gasol had 20 and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who had five players in double figures. Joakim Noah added 14 points and 12 rebounds.Kirk Hinrich appeared in his 696th game with the Bulls, tying Jerry Sloan for third in franchise history.Because of the injuries, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had to improvise once again.The Bulls starting lineup of Brooks, Tony Snell, Mike Dunleavy, Gasol and Noah was the 20th it has used this season. That’s the most since 2007-08, when the Bulls also used 20.Washington was led by John Wall’s 21 points and 11 assists. His 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer cut Washington’s deficit to seven at 74-67, and an Otto Porter floater with 1:49 left in the game cut the Bulls lead to three. Bradley Beal then had a chance to tie the game with an open 3-pointer, but his shot rimmed out with 55.9 remaining.Mirotic then hit one of two free throws before Porter split a pair from the line, cutting the lead to three with 29 seconds left. Gasol rebounded a missed Snell jumper and was fouled, hitting two shots to give the Bulls the final score with 8.5 seconds left. It was Washington’s eighth consecutive loss on the road.The Wizards were coming off a 99-95 win Saturday against Detroit that snapped a six-game losing streak but still lost for the seventh time in eight. Paul Pierce had 16 and Marcin Gortat added 12 and 12 rebounds. It didn’t help the Wizards win their sixth straight game in Chicago, including the postseason.Nene, who on Monday said he hates the Bulls, was held to no points and six rebounds and fouled out with 5:28 left, much to the delight of Bulls fans. That animosity had only intensified with 8:13 left in the fourth when he was called for a flagrant foul on Noah as the Bulls center was driving to the basket. Pierce was also called for a technical during the sequence.Beal, playing his second straight after missing three weeks due to a right leg injury, had 13 on 6 of 18 shooting.
NOTES—Butler told reporters at Tuesday’s shootaround that he and Rose both want to be back before the end of the regular season. ”I think we’re both going to be back ASAP, as soon as possible, but I think we both have to be smart about it,” Butler said. … Thibodeau, asked about the Wizards’ Nene saying he hates the Bulls, said he had no reaction. ”It’s all chatter.”…..The Bulls host Oklahoma City on Thursday.

Cats amazing rally beats Wolverines

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—The way Northwestern was racking up losses not too long ago, it’s not hard to see why coach Chris Collins was beaming after the latest victory. And what a wild one it was.Tre Demps hit tying 3-pointers at the end of regulation and the first OT, Alex Olah scored 25 and Northwestern beat Michigan 82-78 in double overtime Tuesday night.The Wildcats (15-15, 6-11 Big Ten) wiped out a 12-point deficit in the second half and came away with one wild victory thanks to some huge shots down the stretch by Demps, who finished with 20 points. Olah grabbed 12 rebounds. JerShon Cobb scored 14, and Northwestern won for the fifth time in six games after dropping 10 in a row.Zak Irvin scored 28 for Michigan. Aubrey Dawkins added 21 points, but the Wolverines (14-15, 7-10) lost for the seventh time in eight games.Demps’ 3 in the closing seconds of regulation tied it at 59. He had a chance to win it after Michigan committed a turnover on the inbounds but missed a jumper, sending the game it overtime.He did it again in the first OT, nailing a 3 with about 10 seconds left and then hitting another after a turnover by Michigan on the inbounds.The tying 3s by Demps at the end of regulation and the first OT came with the Wolverines choosing not to foul.In the second overtime, Northwestern was leading by one before Vic Law hit a 3 and Demps made 1 of 2 free throws with 36 seconds remaining. Irvin answered with a 3 to pull Michigan within two before Bryant McIntosh hit a pair of free throws for the Wildcats with 18 seconds remaining.Northwestern was leading by five in the first OT when Spike Albrecht and Aubrey Dawkins hit back-to-back 3s to put Michigan on top 68-65 with just over a minute left. Albrecht added two free throws to make it a five-point game with 34 seconds remaining and 1 of 2 with 16 seconds left to make it a six-point game.Demps nailed a 3 in transition to make it a three-point game with nine seconds left in the first overtime. Northwestern then caught a huge break when a pressured Irvin couldn’t handle Albrecht’s inbounds. The ball bounced out along the sideline, and Demps buried another one from long range – this time from the left corner – to force the second OT.Tre Demps needs two points to reach 1,000 for his career. … Cobb returned after missing six games because of foot and knee injuries.Northwestern senior JerShon Cobb on playing his final home game: ”I’m undefeated on senior night.” NU visits Iowa on Saturday.

Toews, Hawks beat Carolina 5-2

Jonathan Toews had two goals and assisted on Marian Hossa’s score as the Blackhawks rolled to a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.Brandon Saad scored his 20th to reach that mark for the first time in his career and Marcus Kruger also connected for the Blackhawks, who have won three of their last four. Toews increased his total to 21 goals, trailing only the injured Patrick Kane (27) for the team lead.Corey Crawford made 27 saves, and lost his bid for a second straight shutout when Carolina’s John-Michael Liles scored at 4:29 of the third period. Alexander Semin also scored late in the third for the Hurricanes, who snapped a three-game winning streak.Cam Ward allowed four goals on 18 shots through the first two periods for Carolina, and was replaced by Anton Khudobin to start the third. Khudobin stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.A day after declaring the re-tooled Blackhawks a ”tight group” that knows ”what our potential is this year,” Toews delivered as the Hawks improved to 2-1 without Kane. Toews, the Blackhawks’ captain, has five goals in his last five games.Antoine Vermette and defenseman Kimmo Timonen, two of the three players acquired by the Blackhawks during a four-day run-up to Monday’s trade deadline, made their debuts with the Hawks.Vermette, who came from Phoenix in a deal on Saturday night for a first-round draft pick and defenseman prospect Klas Dahlbeck, was slotted on a line between Saad and Patrick Sharp.The 39-year-old Timonen played for the first time since last April’s playoffs with Philadelphia. He had been sidelined all season because of blood clots discovered in his leg and lungs last summer, and resumed skating just a few weeks ago.The Blackhawks made the deals to shore up their roster heading into the playoffs without Kane, who underwent surgery to repair a broken left collarbone last Wednesday and is expected to miss 12 weeks.Toews scored the only goal of the first period, finishing a breakaway with a rising shot past Ward’s glove at 8:07.After taking Michal Rozsival’s long pass from the Hawk blue line, Toews got past Carolina’s defenders and motored down the slot.Toews made it 2-0 with by capping a short-handed break with a shot under Ward’s pads 44 seconds into the second.This time, Duncan Keith flipped a pass from center ice and Toews drove past Justin Faulk to the net.The Blackhawks killed overlapping penalties to Sharp and Hossa – including a 5-on-3 Carolina advantage that lasted 1:14 – early in the second period.Saad extended the lead to 3-0 at 9:42 on a shot from he left circle after Carolina’s Michal Jordan had blocked an initial attempt. The fourth-year left wing had scored 19 in each of his previous two seasons.Kruger drove to the net and knocked in a rebound of Andrew Shaw’s shot with 4:18 left in the second, making it 4-0.Liles put Carolina on the board at 4 1/2 minutes into the third, beating Crawford from the left circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Andrej Nestrasil.Set up by Toews, Hossa made it 5-1 on a wrist shot from the slot 3:26 later.Semin completed the scoring on a backhander with 1:10 left.

NOTES—Toews has scored 20 or more goals in each if his eight NHL seasons. His lowest ouput was 23 in 47 games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. He has three two-goal games this season. … The Blackhawks acquired F Andrew Desjardins from San Jose for F Ben Smith in a swap of fourth-line players just hours before Monday’s deadline. The Sharks also got a 2017 conditional pick. Desjardins is expected in Chicago on Tuesday. … The Blackhawks and Hurricanes meet again on March 23 in Raleigh, N.C.

Clippers big fourth quarter finished of Bulls 96-86

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DeAndre Jordan’s rebounding was too much for the short-handed Bulls.Jordan continued his recent tear with 26 rebounds and Chris Paul had 28 points 12 assists and the Clippers earned a 96-86 victory over the Bulls on Sunday.Jordan had 17 rebounds in the first two periods, the most by an NBA player in one half this season.In his 300th straight game, the longest active streak in the league, the league’s top rebounder also blocked two shots and altered several more.

”You look at the stat sheet, you don’t see how many times (an opponent) didn’t drive because D.J. was there, how many guys went up but didn’t shoot because he was there,” Paul said. ”He should be considered for MVP, but that’s how the league works. It’s an offensive league.”

”What he’s doing defensively, if he was doing that offensively, he would be recognized as the MVP or one of them,” coach Doc Rivers said. ”But because it’s defensively, no one notices.”

Well, almost no one.

”Particularly with Blake Griffin being out for them, (Jordan) is playing at an unbelievably high level,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”When you look at their team and scoring margin, it tells you how good they are.”

Jordan had at least 15 rebounds in his eighth straight game.

”I agree because I’m a big guy, but others don’t. Our league is about points, obviously,” he said.

Los Angeles was behind 76-75 when Jamal Crawford made a 3-pointer with 8:02 left. It never trailed the rest of the way.After a scoreless first half, Crawford had 16 points in the final two quarters.The Clippers extended their winning streak to five in a row in the United Center, the longest in franchise history. They haven’t lost there since Dec. 17, 2008.Rookie reserve Nikola Mirotic scored a career-high 29 points for a short-handed Bulls team that was without Derrick Rose (right knee surgery) and Taj Gibson (sprained left ankle).And with Jimmy Butler (sprained left elbow) sidelined for most of the second half and Pau Gasol less than 100 percent, Mirotic accounted for all but one of his team’s 17 points in the fourth quarter.Aaron Brooks finished with 14 points, and Joakim Noah had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls.

”Without Derrick, Pau and Jimmy, somebody needed to shoot the ball,” Mirotic said. ”My teammates were trying to find me. I took some tough shots.”

Los Angeles jumped to a 26-18 lead in the first quarter in which Paul scored eight points and Jordan grabbed nine rebounds. But with Paul on the bench at the start of the second period, the Bulls went on a 12-2 run to go up 30-28. Mirotic scored eight of his 11 points in the quarter.The Bulls shot only 39 percent in the field but managed to stay in the game because of a 22-13 advantage in free throws and a 17-13 edge in offensive rebounds.

”We’ve just got to find a way to win,” Thibodeau said. ”It doesn’t matter who’s out. That was a winnable game down the stretch and we didn’t get it done.”

The Clippers improved to 2-1 on their four-game road trip. The Bulls lost for the third time in their past 10 games.

NOTES—Rivers remembered former New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason as a ”great teammate.” Mason died of heart problems at 48 on Saturday. ”He was so tough and so loyal,” Rivers said. ”We had a pretty crazy group when you think about Anthony Mason and John Starks and Greg Anthony and Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley and Anthony Bonner all on one team. I was the saint on that team.”……Butler’s status was unknown pending the results of an MRI on Monday. He ran into a Jordan pick three minutes into the second half and did not return. .. A moment of silence was observed for former White Sox star Minnie Minoso, who died earlier in the day. … The home team wore its red Los Bulls uniforms as part of the league’s annual Latin nights program….The Bulls host Washington on Tuesday night.

Bishop blanks Hawks, Timonen picked up from Philadelphia

TAMPA—Ben Bishop made 28 saves for his second shutout, Steven Stamkos scored two goals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Blackhawks 4-0 on Friday night.Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan also scored for the Lightning, who returned home after a 3-2 road trip against Western Conference teams.Stamkos has 11 goals and 17 points in nine games against the Blackhawks.Scott Darling stopped 25 shots.The Blackhawks beat Florida 3-0 Thursday in their first game since losing leading scorer Patrick Kane, placed on long-term injured reserve Wednesday with a broken left collarbone suffered in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers.Boyle opened the scoring in the second period from the slot off a nifty pass from behind the net by Jonathan Drouin. Stamkos made it 2-0 after deflecting Jason Garrison‘s shot from just inside the blue line with 2:07 left in the second. He added his 34th goal on a late third-period power play.Callahan put the Lightning ahead 3-0 by redirecting Valtteri Filppula‘s pass during a power play in the third period.Tampa Bay’s second-ranked home penalty-killing unit killed off three Chicago power plays during the first session. Bishop made six saves on the Blackhawks’ third try late in the period.Duncan Keith was given four minutes for high-sticking Cedric Paquette midway through the first, but the Blackhawks’ road-best penalty killers limited Tampa Bay to two shots.The Blackhawks got a break when Nikita Kucherov beat Darling just seconds after the first period ended.

NOTES—The Hawks acquired D Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia for a 2015 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2016 fourth-rounder. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said he is also looking to add a forward before the trade deadline.

Rose has successful surgery, Bulls hold back T-Wolves

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The Bulls got a positive update on Derrick Rose, and then used another big night by Jimmy Butler to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 96-89 on Friday.Butler had 28 points and 12 rebounds and the Bulls won for the seventh time in their last nine games. Mike Dunleavy made five 3-pointers on his way to 21 points, and Joakim Noah finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. The Bulls trailed 85-84 before Kirk Hinrich drove inside for a layup with 4:29 remaining, and then Tony Snell made a smart pass to Dunleavy for an open 3 that made it 89-85. Butler added a clutch bank shot to help the Bulls improve to 10-1 in their last 11 games against Minnesota.Kevin Martin scored 18 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost four of six. Ricky Rubio had 15 points and 10 assists, and Andrew Wiggins finished with 14 points.Minnesota was hurt by a whopping 48-16 deficit in points in the paint.It was the Bulls second game since the team announced Tuesday night that Rose had a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. The dynamic point guard had surgery Friday morning and is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks, raising the possibility he could return this season.It was an encouraging development in a difficult week for the Bulls, who were still processing another significant injury for the 2011 NBA MVP when they lost 98-86 to Charlotte on Wednesday night. Rose missed the 2012-13 season while he recovered from left knee surgery, and played in just 10 games last season before he had surgery on his right knee.

”He’s a tough-minded guy,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”There’s normal emotion when you get injured and then there’s the fight in him that I think we’ve all seen. He’s not going to back up and he’ll put everything he has into the rehab and then coming back.”

The Bulls also were without All-Star Pau Gasol for the matchup with the Timberwolves, and forward Taj Gibson left in the first quarter with a left ankle injury. Gasol, who is averaging 18.4 points and 12.1 rebounds, was shelved by an illness.Minnesota coach Flip Saunders decided to rest Kevin Garnett in the first part of back-to-back games for the Timberwolves. The veteran forward, who was reacquired by Minnesota in a trade with Brooklyn last week, played 19 minutes in an emotional 97-77 home victory over Washington on Wednesday night.Garnett, who turns 39 in May, had his warmups and high tops on as he cheered for his teammates from the sideline throughout the game.Thibodeau, who was an assistant coach with Boston when Garnett helped the Celtics win the NBA title in 2008, said he thinks the 7-footer will have a significant impact on the young Timberwolves.

”When you watch the way he plays offensively and defensively, it’s all about winning,” Thibodeau said. ”When you have a guy like that on your team, the young guys can’t help but improve quickly. He’ll bring a spirit to that team that’ll tie everybody together.”

NOTES—Making his second straight start in place of Rose, Aaron Brooks had six points on 2-for-15 shooting. … The Bulls swept the season series against Minnesota, also winning 106-105 on the road on Nov. 1…..The Bulls host the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon.

Teravainen gets Hawks off to quick start in 3-0 win over Panthers, 20 save shutout for Crawford.

SUNRISE—Teuvo Teravainen got off to a quick start in his first game since being recalled from the minor leagues.Teravainen, taking the roster spot of the injured Patrick Kane, scored on his first shift and Corey Crawford earned his second shutout of the season in the Blackhawks’ 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday.Teravainen got the puck in the right circle and wristed it past a defender and Roberto Luongo’s glove 3:08 in.It was the first game for the Hawks since losing leading scorer Kane, placed on long-term injured reserve Wednesday with a broken left collarbone suffered in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers.

”Everyone needs to step up a little bit,” Teravainen said. ”I don’t think too much (about replacing Kane). I just try to be myself. I’m living my dream right now.”

Teravainen impressed Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

”He’s very astute, there’s an awareness to his game. That was a nice play,” Quenneville said.

Brandon Saad also scored a goal before Jonathan Toews added an empty-netter with 46.8 seconds left.The Blackhawks won their second consecutive game after previously losing three straight and beat the Panthers for the seventh straight time. The last time the Blackhawks lost to the Panthers was March, 8, 2011.Crawford stopped 20 shots by a sluggish Florida offense, which took only four shots in the first period and didn’t take its fifth shot on goal until 10:47 of the second.

”I didn’t see too many pucks,” said Crawford, who had lost his previous three starts. ”That’s a big win. We played well defensively, kept them to the outside for the most part, and the score showed it.”

On Saad’s goal, Duncan Keith made a nifty pass from the slot to Saad in the right circle. He shot past Luongo on the glove side early in the second period.Saad is tied with Toews for the team scoring lead with 19 goals, and tied his career high, set last season.Luongo made 26 saves for the Panthers, losers of four in a row and seven of their past nine. The Panthers have scored just four goals in the four straight losses.

”We just weren’t good enough tonight,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said.

The Panthers hope to change their offensive woes with the acquisition of 22-year veteran forward Jaromir Jagr, the league’s oldest player.The Panthers acquired Jagr, who turned 43 earlier this month, from the New Jersey Devils earlier Thursday for two draft picks: a second-rounder this year, and either Florida’s or Minnesota’s third-round selection in 2016. Jagr had 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 games this season for New Jersey.The Panthers are adding Jagr for an anticipated run at the playoffs, and Jagr can hopefully to jump start their offense.

”We’re in a battle right now for the playoffs,” Luongo said. ”If you can bring something to our team, it’s definitely going to be big for us. Hopefully he can add some offense on the power play and 5 on 5. We just want to keep it going and stay in the fight here.”

Jagr is expected to arrive in South Florida on Friday, and to play when Florida hosts Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.

NOTES—The Blackhawks have earned points in nine of their past 11 games….Johnny Oduya was scratched with an injury. … Panthers forward and former Blackhawk Dave Bolland missed his second game with an injury.

Rose surgery set for Friday morning

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The Bulls announced Derrick Rose is scheduled to have surgery on Friday morning to repair a medial meniscus tear in his right knee.
The Bulls said Rose will undergo a meniscectomy, which is a removal of part or all of the meniscus. The Tribune, citing sources, has reported there is considerable optimism that Rose’s second meniscus tear is small.If the tear is small and only a small portion of the meniscus is trimmed, it’s possible Rose’s timeline could be in the three- to six-week period. Rookie Doug McDermott, who didn’t have the injury history Rose did, returned to the court following his meniscus surgery in three weeks and to practice in four.Since Rose had a similar tear a season ago, it’s unlikely he’d be able to just get it repaired again this time around. The removal of part or all of the meniscus is the most likely scenario. If you remove all of the meniscus, Rose could potentially return this season and be able to help the Bulls attempt to march toward the NBA Finals. It’s a much less problematic recovery process for getting back on the court than if you just remove part of the meniscus.

Removing part of the meniscus instead of the entire disc of cartilage would put Rose out for months and effectively end his season. It would also mean a lower likelihood of pain and re-injury to that same knee, whereas the removal of the entire meniscus increases the chances of pain and a shorter playing career, depending on how Rose is able to change his game going forward.

Since Rose has always been so dependent on athleticism, speed, and explosiveness, playing with bone-on-bone contact in the knee might end up being too painful over the next few years as he tries to battle to get back onto the court and play at a high level. To be able to leave some of the meniscus in the knee joint allows the benefit of cushioning in there.

The two scenarios that often get compared in situations like this are Russell Westbrook, who had the meniscus repaired. After a couple of procedures to fix a suture and clean up the knee, he’s back to his same explosive self that we’re used to. However, the removal of the meniscus or part of the meniscus also brings about comparisons to Brandon Roy, who ended up playing with bone-on-bone pain that eventually ended his career early.

Bulls, without Rose, also without victory vs Hornets

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

Joakim Noah‘s emotions after he heard Derrick Rose will have yet another knee surgery could be summed up in two words. ”Angry. Sad,” Noah said. The news that Rose is out again hit theĀ Bulls hard. And they didn’t get much relief from the Hornets.Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Mo Williams scored 17 and Charlotte beat the Bulls 98-86 Wednesday night.Al Jefferson added 16 points to help the Hornets snap a five-game losing streak. But all that was overshadowed by the news that Rose needs another operation.

”For them, I would think that, mentally, there’s no question it will take a few games to get used to playing without him,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said.

The Bulls revealed Tuesday night that their star point guard has a torn meniscus in his right knee, a big blow to the franchise and its fan base. That fueled more doubts about whether the 2011 NBA MVP will ever be the same, let alone lead the Bulls to their first championship since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era. A similar injury limited Rose to 10 games last season and cut short his long-awaited comeback. He sat out the 2012-13 season recuperating from a torn ACL in his left knee. It’s not clear exactly when he will have surgery or how much time he will miss.

”We all were affected by it,” Pau Gasol said. ”They might have been through this before, but it’s the third time it’s happened.”

It’s an all-too-familiar feeling for the Bulls.who dropped into a tie with Cleveland for the Central Division lead. The Bulls had won six of seven, but clearly, there was a hangover from the news about their point guard.Gasol, who came to Chicago hoping to make a run at a championship after winning two with the Lakers, led the Bulls with 25 points and 13 rebounds for his league-leading 38th double-double. He also had four blocks.Jimmy Butler scored 14. Aaron Brooks, starting for Rose, was off target in a 12-point performance. He was 4 of 12 from the field, including 1 of 5 on 3-pointers, and 3 for 8 at the free throw line. The Bulls were 3 of 17 from long range and 15 of 23 at the foul line.Kidd-Gilchrist capped a seven-point spurt with a pair of dunks, making it 85-74 midway through the fourth quarter. Jefferson scored six in an 8-0 run that boosted the lead to 95-78 with 2:25 left.

NOTES—Taj Gibson and G Kirk Hinrich were back after being sidelined by illness. Gibson missed one game and Hinrich sat out two. … Coach Tom Thibodeau indicated any signings the Bulls make with Rose out probably won’t impact the rotation much. He said the Bulls still have a versatile rotation, which ”helps a lot.”…The Bulls host Minnesota on Friday.