By Brian Hanley-
(CBS) When it comes to his bad back, it looks like the ball is no longer in Derrick Rose's court.
That's a good thing.
The fact the Bulls brought back guard Mike James Tuesday on a 10-day contract indicates the Bulls are expecting Rose to be out a while.
"You look at what the doctors are saying and how he's feeling," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "What we've been told from the start of this is he's day-to-day. That's how we're approaching it. We'll continue to get the information, study it and make a good decision.
"It's not just his decision. There are a lot of people weighing in on it. We have a great medical and training staff so their input is critical. His input is critical. We're certainly not going to do anything to jeopardize him being hurt further. He's feeling better."
Now, who's going to tell Rose he shouldn't travel to Orlando this weekend for the All-Star game.
Guessing it won't be anyone from Adidas.
Q RATING: Nice to see the Blackhawks rally around coach Joel Quenneville, who was grilled by media Monday about his job security given the team's recent eight-game losing streak.
"Oh, absolutely, no question about it," Hawks winger Patrick Kane said. "I don't think anyone in here questions his job or what he's doing. He's had a lot of success as a coach in the NHL, won a Stanley Cup with him a couple years ago.
"Besides this little streak, we've been having a pretty good season. I don't think you can get on him about what's happened here lately. You look at what he's done in the past and how successful he's been and just helping a bunch of us grow as players. He's been great."
Actually, fans can and should get on Quenneville, general manager Stan Bowman, Kane, Corey Crawford, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith ... actually the list of those who should get a pass from fans is much shorter than the Hawks long shot odds of making another Stanley Cup run.
Now its up to Kane and company to do something more than talk to take the heat off their coach.
"It bothers me," Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said of Quenneville's critics. "He's our leader, he's our coach, we play hard for him and we believe in him. I know that if something would happen, there would be a lot of unhappy people in the room right now, as far as players putting that on themselves. We know that we're the guys on the ice that control the outcome of the games a lot of times. There's no doubts in Joel, that's for sure."
Quenneville should give Ray Emery a long look in goal. That means more than two consecutive games, Q.
HERE'S THE RUB: The White Sox shocked most with the team's signing Tuesday of former Cub outfielder Kosuke Fukudome.
It's a low-risk, low-cost roll of the dice and GM Kenny Williams is long overdue due for a gamble to go right.
Fukudome will make only $1 million guaranteed, only half of that this season. He will earn $3.5 million if the team picks up its option on Fukudome in 2013.
The Sox were interested in landing Fukudome back in 2007 but were lucky the Cubs ended up forking over $48 million to the light-hitting lefty for four years.
"Kosuke adds to our outfield depth and gives (manager) Robin (Ventura) another left-handed bat to mix into the lineup based on matchups," Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn said. "He can play center field and right and provides flexibility to our roster."
Don't know if Fukudome, 34, will put up appreciably better numbers than the .262 with 27 doubles, eight home runs and 35 RBI he had in 146 games with the Cubs and Cleveland last year.
But it's almost a sure thing new Sox skipper Ventura doesn't make use of Fukudome's personal massage therapist as did doddering Lou Piniella while with the Cubs.
THE CUBAN FUKUDOME? Scouts are mixed on whether Yoenis Cespedes is a can't miss talent. But the Moneyballers out in Oakland will soon find out. The A's ponied up $36 million for four years. The Cubs were said to be in the Cespedes chase but the Miami Marlins were apparently the runner-up for the outfielder, offering $36 million over six seasons.
Since Oakland also agreed to waive arbitration rights after the contract expires, maybe the Cubs can sign Cespedes for $1 million guaranteed four years from now. But he has to bring his own massage therapist.
BIGGER, NOT BETTER: Conference USA and Mountain West Conference meet the NHL.
Hockey head honcho Gary Bettman thought expanding the NHL to warmer climes such as Florida, Carolina, and Arizona would entice TV big bucks due to the league's larger "geographic footprint.''
The NHL national TV ratings still over around 1.0, big footprint not withstanding.
So the upcoming merger of C-USA and MWC into a conference of between 18 and 24 schools beginning in 2013-14 seems like overkill given the mid-major nature of the programs.
The new, as yet unnamed league will consist of the following schools at minimum: Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from C-USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii from the MWC. Hawaii would be a football-only member.
Not only would the new conference have a championship game, but it would also have two semifinal games, which means four teams would be involved in the conference playoffs.
Temple also is a possibility, and others could be added. The teams will be divided into divisions.
Two words: Who cares?
"This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast," UNLV president Neal Smatresk said. "This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics. We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture."
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