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Former Chicago compatriots voice support for Derrick Rose

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Derrick Rose's former Chicago Bulls coaches and teammates watch from a distance as the former MVP decides what his next professional step will be, they're hopeful he will find the joy that helped defined the early part of his career again.

"I don't know any other player who has gone through what he's gone through," Minnesota Timberwolves coach, and Rose's former coach in Chicago, Tom Thibodeau told ESPN. "Whatever it is that he decides, I would support him 100 percent. I just want him to have peace of mind, that's the biggest thing. He's not only a great player, but he's a great person. And to go through what he has gone through, quite frankly, I don't even know how he's handled it."

ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin reported earlier this week that Rose was evaluating his future in the league after another ankle injury has hampered him throughout the early part of the season. Like Thibodeau, former teammate Taj Gibson knows how much effort Rose has poured into getting back on the floor over the years. Gibson, now also with the Timberwolves, said he is confident that with a little bit of space to clear his head, Rose will get back on the floor at some point in the near future.

"Derrick is a good thinker," Gibson said. "He thinks a lot. He's a real smart guy, so if he needs to get away, let him get away, let him adjust, and he'll come back. He's a tough guy. He's from Chicago, man."

It remains unclear at this point when exactly Rose may return to the floor, but Gibson and Thibodeau remain firmly in the 29-year-old's corner.

"I know he had a good summer of working out," Gibson said. "I know he looked good the first couple games. ... Every player in the league goes through something. Everybody got to this certain point with a little bit of adversity in front of them. He just has to push through. He's talented, no question, he's got all the talent in the world. Just have to go out there and just play."

Both still believe Rose can play at a high level in the league despite the ongoing frustration with the injuries.

"I thought he had a good year last year," Thibodeau said. "I thought he was playing well this year. It's the injuries that have taken him back again. You can't understand what he's gone through because of all the things that have happened. So many surgeries and every time he gets going again something else happens. And so you just feel for him. I was there through what he did and what he did was so special and amazing. I think you know how the people of Chicago feel about him; everyone loves that guy. I think as time goes on there will be a greater and greater appreciation for what he did."

Like his teammates and coaches did after his initial ACL injury in April 2012, Thibodeau and Gibson defended Rose at every turn.

"Anyone who knows him and who played with him, you know the type of person he is," Thibodeau said. "I think that's what made it so special. He cared about everyone. If he didn't score a lot and we won, he was as happy as if he had scored all the points. That was just who he is, it's the type of guy he is."

Gibson said that once Rose gets back on the floor, everything else will fall into place for the star-crossed point guard.

"Just get back in the gym with the guys," Gibson said. "When you're hurt or you're away from the team, you kind of lose sight. Being around the guys in the locker room is going to get you back. It's going to get you back to feeling what you need to be because at the end of the day it's your job. Those guys in the locker room, they're the only ones that can relate to you. You've got LeBron James, you've got Dwyane Wade, just get back to the basics, get back to playing basketball. He's a talented player, he's a great guy, great teammate, I hope he just gets back on his feet."

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