It's been a season of injuries for the Chicago Bulls and the biggest one being Derrick Rose. But when he was cleared by team doctors to play, he still felt he wasn't ready. This decision has come under heavy criticism, especially when other teammates who have been injured more recently in the playoffs continue to fight through and play.

While the media and fans question Rose's decision not to play, it seems his teammates have been accepting of his choice to remain off the court. Joakim Noah, who has taken over the team leader roll while Rose has been out this year, defended his star point guard recently.

Noah took a question regarding how much pride he and his team feel being able to win without Rose while so many analysts count them out, and he had had enough.

"Derrick's a brother," Noah said. "And to see him go through this is tough, but at the end of the day it's really funny how quick people are to judge. But people don't know what it's like to lead a team, especially after you tore your ACL.

"If you tore your ACL and you have to be the starting point guard and have the expectations that Derrick has, then maybe you can judge, but everybody who hasn't been in that situation before should really shut up because I feel like it's just so unfair to him and to this team. We're fighting, and everybody's going to just s--- on somebody who's been giving so much to this organization. It's crazy to me."

Noah did not acknowledge whether he has spoken to Rose about the criticism, but it was clear he didn't like what he has been hearing. Rose said on Saturday that he hasn't paid much attention to the criticism, but Noah and the rest of his teammates have made it a point to stand up for Rose's decision not to play.

This is a team with great character, heart, and fight in them. This veteran team has stepped up all year long in the absence of Rose and has continued their success into the playoffs. Just like most fans, the Bulls would love to have their all star point guard on the court, but they only want him there when he's ready. In the meantime, they will do what they always do, scratch and claw with the men they do have on the floor, with a belief that they can play with and beat any team they face moving forward.