Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls’ point guard who has been out since Game 1 of the first round of last year’s playoffs with a torn left ACL, has been participating in “full contact” practices, according to coach Tom Thibodeau, sparking speculation that Rose’s return to action is imminent.
Rose has made steady progress and no longer has any physical limitations.
“He’s full-contact, yeah,” Thibodeau said before Wednesday’s morning shoot-around, as the Bulls prepared to face the Milwaukee Bucks.
Still, it is not likely Rose will not return until after the Feb. 17 all-star game in Houston.
“He can do all the cutting, he can do shooting, he can go off the dribble,” Thibodeau said. “So it’s just a matter of him getting acclimated to playing in a game situation.
“You have to understand that in practice you’re striving to get as close to a gamelike intensity as you can, but you also have to understand that you’re not going to be able to get there, so that will be a whole different level. And we have to make sure that he’s ready to handle that intensity.”
Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Executive Vice President John Paxson said recently they’re going to be cautious with the 2010-11 MVP.
“We don’t have the defined plan yet because Derrick is still progressing,” Paxson said Friday on The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000. “The way he feels and what his body tells him is going to dictate how we do things. But I can tell you one thing — and this is for certain — he’s going to have to have a high volume of practices and contact, and where he’s comfortable on the floor doing things that he used to do naturally. And that takes some time and he’s just starting that process now.
“We can’t sit here today and say he’s going to be back in three weeks or after the all-star break. Those things are a hope, but his body is going to tell us and then when we get to that point, that’s when we’re going to have to sit down and determine, after we talk to our doctors and everything, then determine our game plan of minutes and how best to bring him back. We don’t want to bring him back and then have a setback because he wasn’t totally ready. We want this to be a progression where he comes back, he starts to play and every week he gets better and feels better.”
Reinsdorf consistently has maintained Rose won’t play in a game until doctors assure him he’s ready.
“There’s no date,” Reinsdorf said during an interview with WGN-TV on Monday. “The doctors say that he’s doing everything that he’s supposed to be doing and there’s no specific date.
“He’s not going to come back until the doctors say unequivocally that he has no greater chance of getting hurt than any other player. If there’s any risk, he’s not coming back.”