With an eye toward returning in Thursdays home game against the Celtics, Derrick Rose has ramped up the rehabilitation process for his strained right groin. The All-Star point guard was a full participant in Wednesday afternoons practice at the Berto Center, taking contact for the first time since the injury, which occurred 11 games prior.
I really dont know. I felt good, but me playing tomorrow, I dont know. Im able to run a little bit more, but not at my top speed, said Rose after practice. I really cant explain, unless youve had the injury.
I definitely feel better. Im running, able to move a little bit more, so Im getting healthy, he continued. Ive taken three weeks off or two weeks off, however many Ive taken off my conditioning is definitely a worry, but in basketball, you should be able to fight through it.
Its my first time ever having this injury. Usually people, after they have it, they usually dont have it anymore, but my biggest thing is coming back too quick and re-injuring it again.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Rose has been increasingly active in past days and while he looked good shooting the ball in a voluntary workout session Tuesday, but while he looked OK in Wednesdays practice, he was tentative and not in playing shape, things that should be expected after such a long absence. Still, just having Rose back in practice was a positive for the Bulls, coming off their first two-game losing streak of the season.
It was a good day at practice. Everyone went, so thats good, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who noted that Rose went through everything Wednesday. It was good because coming off a day off, we had the opportunity to do a lot of stuff.
You know, Im an optimist. I always believe it could happen. Thats the way I think. I get around you guys, then I think it wont happen, continued a sarcastic Thibodeau quipped when asked about Roses status for Thursdays game. Well see how he feels tomorrow. His speed and quickness looked very good, so I thought it was very encouraging.
Rip Hamilton, Roses backcourt partner who just returned from a long absence due to injury himself, was similarly optimistic about how Rose appeared Wednesday.
On Derricks bad days, hes still a 10 in terms of explosiveness, on a scale of 1-10. He possesses all the attributes, so when hes 100 percent, hes way over 10. Him not full speed is still faster than probably 98 percent of the league, he said. The first time in a long time to have everybody practicing in a long time. Its a good thing that we were all on the floor at the same time.
With this season, its hard to do a whole lot of scrimmaging. It was the same thing for me when I came back. I didnt get an opportunity to scrimmage, so the first five-on-five was in a game, so we just try to stay conditioned, take little bumps during practice.
Hamilton believes the Bulls will be much improved with their full cast on hand after Rose returns to the lineup.
I definitely think so. Guys have done a great job stepping in and doing what theyve been doing Ronnie, Kyle, C.J., John those guys have been excellent the whole season. I think when we come back, everybody gets their rhythm, everybody gets back into their comfort zone, what theyre used to doing, well be great, the veteran explained. He does so many great things on the floor that can get me so many wide-open baskets. I think in the past and pretty much my whole career, just working so hard, my team looked at me to lead the team in scoring every game and now Im in a situation where I can just get to spots. Derricks going to create, Derricks going to make plays to make my job a lot easier, so I can get a lot of easy wide-open shots.
Thibodeau tacitly admitted that the dual absences of Rose and Hamilton have put additional pressure on Bulls reserves, such as C.J. Watson, who has endured both significant and nagging injuries throughout the season himself.
One of C.J.s strengths is the way he shoots the ball. Hes played through some nicks, hes banged up a little bit, but hes got a lot of mental toughness and hes done a great job going in for Derrick or when Derricks been out. Overall, C.J.s had a terrific year for us, he said. I think this time of the year, you have to strike that balance of the rest and playing. We also want him to be in rhythm down the road, so I think just step by step. The way the schedule is this month, if we need to sit him out of some practices, well probably do thatgive him an opportunity to rest therebut hes done a good job overall for us. Hes had a great year.
Meanwhile, Thibodeau praised Roses positive outlook during a trying time.
Hes been patient. Hes done a great job with his rehab. Each day, hes done more and more. Hes feeling better and better, and so, well see how he feels tomorrow. He did quite a bit yesterday and he did more today, so its very encouraging, but well see where he is tomorrow, he said. Hes approached it great. His attitude has been great. Fred Tedeschi, our trainer, and Bulls assistant trainer Jeff Tanaka have done a great job with him. Our medical staff, theyve taken him through it step by step. Hes been diligent with the rehab, twice a day. I think he knows what he is. Hell be fine.