Derrick Rose still is not ready to return to action for the Chicago Bulls. But the former NBA MVP is traveling with the team for the first time since tearing his ACL in the first round of the playoffs last season. And that is quite encouraging to Chicago supporters.
“It’s the next step in the progression for him,’ Bulls coach Tim Thibodeau said. He spoke to the media before the Bulls’ 96-94 victory at Orlando Wednesday night. “He’s getting up to speed with everything offensively, defensively, his teammates.
“It’s just the next step, and he’s got to continue the things that he’s been doing and the team has to continue to focus on our improvement and our opponent and then at some point he’ll be ready to go. But he still has some time to go, everyone has to be patient, but it’s good to have him around.”
A date for Rose’s return to games has not been set. He has been working in non-contact drills, and probably will not be back on the active roster until after the all-star break in February.
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“When he’s ready,” was the way Thibodeau put it. “So that’s not anything that has changed from the start of the season; it’s when he’s ready. It’s not going to be sooner, later, ‘this is the target date,’ it’s just when he’s ready. So he’s doing practice, the predictable contact in practice, the next step will be regular practice, then he has to be able to go through regular practice for a while. And then, if everything goes well, then he plays.
“But there’s no time schedule so it’s everything according to plan. It’s just the next step. There’s several steps he has to go through. There’s several more that he has to go through — so everything’s going well, nothing has changed.”
For his part, Rose has limited his access to the media while centering his thoughts on getting stronger.