Tom Thibodeau: Don't blame Omer Asik

Updated: January 17, 2011, 2:48 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau defended Omer Asik after the backup center was criticized by Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh for rolling into Bosh's ankle on Saturday.

Chasing after a loose ball in the third quarter of the Bulls' 96-93 victory, Asik dove on the floor and rolled over Bosh's ankle. Bosh was visibly upset after the play but accepted a peace offering by Asik soon after. Bosh left the game and did not return.

X-rays were negative but Bosh missed the fourth quarter and may have an MRI in the next few days in Miami to determine the extent of the injury. The initial prognosis is that it wasn't a severe sprain.

"C'mon, that is how guys get hurt, that is how serious injuries happen," Bosh said. "You've got to watch people's legs. I know guys want to hustle and everything but we all want to play and provide for our families and have a job.

"We all want to be healthy and that is very important," Bosh said. "If it is by somebody's leg, don't dive for the ball, it's too close."

Thibodeau came to his rookie center's defense on Monday before the Bulls played the Grizzlies.

"I didn't see it that way," Thibodeau said of Bosh's comments. "I saw it as a great hustle play. Omer's not that type of guy. He's not going to ever try to take somebody out. He plays hard, he plays clean. He wants to win. Sometimes people say things [in the] heat of the moment after a game so ... And Chris is a tough player. Actually, he hit the floor in the first half in a similar play with Derrick, so I didn't see it that way."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.