With the #1 seed all but locked up, the Bulls primary focus now is getting the team ready for the playoffs. That means getting the MVP back healthy. It also means establishing some continuity and trust between Rose, Rip Hamilton, and the rest of his teammates again.
Those two things can be at odds with eachother. And the Bulls are having to deal with it. Here's Derrick Rose after Saturday's practice, still not feeling 100% but no mention of him not playing Sunday:
I'm feeling good. I'm feeling about the same, where it's getting better every day, improving. Just trying to work on my health, stay positive like I always say and keep my spirits up...When your ankle's hurting you can't move. You know how a sore ankle is where the bone is tender, you can't get around like that ... [Thursday] was just one of them games.
There's mention of an ice pack in that story, and given the usual timetable for such an injury that's not unexpected. But Rose indeed looked bad on Thursday, to where at least in that game it looks like health improvement is more of a concern than removing general 'rust' from the games already missed with the groin injury.
But the latter is important too, and Tom Thibodeau references it, likely showing us what to expect going forward:
We have a lot of guys who have not played a lot of minutes*. We need guys to get in rhythm. That's what we're focused on. Right now, the guys who have been out and missed time, we have to get them playing.
*(somewhere Luol Deng cackles)
So, indeed, there will be things to watch in the games going forward. It's a gamble to expose Rose to potential setbacks by playing him at all, but so is never finding out if he can be re-acclimated either.