The status of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose took another turn today with comments made by the Eastern Conference franchise's head coach, Fred Hoiberg.
As reported by ESPN, Hoiberg told the media that it is "most likely" that Rose will miss the entirety of the Bulls' preseason schedule, whilst also throwing into doubt the former NBA MVP's status for opening night.
The head coach's comments will come as a blow to Chicago fans, with reports earlier this week seeming to suggest Rose was healing well from surgery on a fractured left orbital.
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"They still want him to be a little bit careful with the swelling and making sure his vision is back to where it's supposed to be, back to where it was before he got hit, before they want him to get anything going on with his blood pressure spiking, is kind of how I understand it," Hoiberg said.
"I think it's still yet to be determined if we're going to have him for the opener, but the good news is he's progressing, he's getting better, his vision's getting better and hopefully we'll get him back here soon."
With swelling on the eye injury having failed to dissipate as quickly as had been hoped, Rose has been unable to be fitted for the protective eye mask he will likely have to wear when he does return to the court.
And with Chicago wary of putting their star man back onto the hardwood too early, it looks like Hoiberg and co. are prepared to keep Rose out of the team's first week of the season - a seven day spell that includes four games.
"That will be in consideration, sure," continued the head coach.
"So just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with your speed and everything, you just don't want to take any risks, any chances, where it could be a lingering issue."
With 82 games to play and Chicago remaining second favorites for the Eastern Conference, there is no sense in rushing Derrick Rose back too early.
Bulls fans: Can you win without Rose, and can you win the Eastern Conference? Have your say in the comments below...