Joakim Noah delivered an impassioned, profanity-laced defense of teammate Derrick Rose after the Bulls guard was forced from action with a left hamstring injury late during Chicago's 100-93 road victory over Toronto on Thursday.
Rose, who has missed four games this season due to ankle sprains, has been the subject of criticism this week after telling reporters he is "thinking about long-term" when it comes to managing his minutes and availability following two major knee injuries that cost him most of the last two seasons. Some observers expressed frustration because Rose was, in their view, prioritizing his post-basketball life over his immediate responsibilities for the Bulls, who are viewed as a top title contender.
During his post-game comments, Noah made clear he believes the criticism is unwarranted and that too much attention is being paid to Rose's health.
"Sometimes it's frustrating, you got injuries, you got tweaks," Noah told reporters, according to CBSSports.com. "Every time something happens to him, people act like it's the end of the world and that's f------ so lame to me. Relax. Like, OK, he's coming back from two crazy surgeries. Obviously we're being conservative with him. When things aren't going right, he's got to listen to his body more than anybody. Everybody needs to chill the f--- out."
Noah also suggested that the media is complicit in a negative portrayal of Rose, adding this teammate is fully committed to the Bulls and that judgments of Rose are "not fair to him."
"It's just frustrating because I feel like he's sometimes portrayed as something that he's not," Noah continued. "You don't come back from the injuries that he's coming back from without unbelievable commitment, you know what I'm saying? I'm just growing and just watching the powers that you [media] guys have. Sometimes, it's just you guys can really portray somebody as something that he's not. ... I know how much he cares about this game. I see it every day."
The two Bulls stars have been teammates since Rose was the No. 1 overall pick in 2008.
With a little more than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Chicago leading 93-83, Rose drove into the paint from the top of the arc. As he split Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan, Rose lost his balance as his left leg appeared to give way. After falling to the floor, Rose attempted to pass the ball out of traffic, only to commit a turnover. Shortly thereafter, Chicago called a timeout and Rose did not return for the remainder of the game. The 2011 MVP finished with 20 points on 5-of-14 shooting, four assists and three rebounds in 30 minutes.
The Chicago Tribune reported Rose said after the game he suffered "cramps" in his hamstring and that he believes the injury is "minor."Before Thursday night's game, Rose brushed off the criticism that has come his way in recent days.
“It comes with the territory,” Rose said, according to CSNChicago.com. “I know that. I [have] been there ever since I've been in the NBA. But, as far as everything that comes along with my story, missing two years, of course this is going to happen. So I'm not worried about it, as long as I'm being myself.”
Rose, 26, missed the entire 2012-13 season and played just 10 games last year due to knee injuries. Chicago (7-2) will host Indiana (3-6) on Saturday.