Chicago Bulls guard Taj Gibson expects to step up his game with Derrick Rose sidelined
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson said Monday he's confident the Bulls can still compete without Derrick Rose and foresees his role expanding this season.
Rose tore his left ACL on April 28 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. He underwent surgery on May 12, and the recovery is expected to take between eight to 12 months.
The Bulls went 18-9 during the regular season and 1-4 in the playoffs without Rose last season.
"We still did good even when we didn't have Derrick (last season)," said Gibson, who threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the Chicago White Sox's game on Monday. "We beat the Heat without Derrick.
"Our mindset hasn't changed. It's about staying focused and taking one game at a time. We understand it's going to be up and down at the beginning of the season. We can't look forward to the end. We got to look forward to one game at a time and playing to our strengths and just listening to coach (Tom Thibodeau). I know it's going to be a long season, but I'm really optimistic about what's going to happen."
Entering his fourth season, Gibson said he and Thibodeau expect more of him this season. Gibson averaged 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 20.4 minutes last season.
"Thibs already told me he wants my role to change, be more of a leader now," Gibson said. "I worked out with him a lot during the summer. I worked out with him before the (Team) USA camp. He just wanted me to work out this whole year, build confidence and get better. He thinks I can do a lot more on and off the court. I'm ready to take that next step."