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John Jackson's been converted, and Ben Gordon update

John Jackson:

About my suggestion a week ago that perhaps the Bulls should consider starting Kirk Hinrich and Larry Hughes in the backcourt and bringing rookie Derrick Rose off the bench at the start of the regular season:

Never mind.

With a breakout performance in leading a massive fourth-quarter rally in the Bulls' 109-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, Rose showed he's ready -- both physically and mentally -- to lead the team from the start.


It won't be long before Rose, a 6-3 point guard, is the Bulls' best player. It has become obvious already that he's their most talented player.

Meanwhile, after it had been suggested Gordon would be available going forward, he did not play Tuesday night:

The guard told athletic trainer Fred Tedeschi after participating in the morning shoot- around that his jammed right big toe felt good and he wanted to play.

The problem is Gordon still isn't totally confident his toe can handle back-to-back games. So with a Wednesday game in Minneapolis, Del Negro made Gordon's decision for him.

"It was my call," Del Negro said. "He wanted to play. But he's still having some irritation there. We want to be cautious because we have time here to heal him up. I'd rather do that then he goes out and he's sore for a couple of days.

"We'll re-evaluate it [Wednesday] and see how he feels. But maybe he won't play [Wednesday] either."

What will be really interesting is if it's determined that Larry Hughes can't handle back-to-backs either, and he sits while Gordon plays. The only game Gordon's played so far is when Hughes didn't.

If Gordon's being extra-careful about this toe injury, it may come back to bite him. VDN's (understandably) trying to emphasize the importance of preseason and practice, and will use Ben's absence as reason to not put him in the starting lineup.

To the money quote, from VDN:

"It would be a guess on your part to try to figure out what's going to happen opening night. The lineup might change periodically throughout the season. It's who's playing well and who's playing hard and what lineups work best together. That has been hard to figure out from the standpoint of our injuries and absences."

Sure, maybe with respect to Gordon it's been hard. But has it been difficult to figure out that Rose should start ahead of Larry Hughes? Even if you wanted to give the guy a clean slate (which shouldn't be the case, the past few seasons is useful evidence), Hughes has been completely awful in the time he's been given.