NEW YORKThere continues to be plenty of speculation of Derrick Roses return becoming more and more imminent, but at the present time, the 24-year-old superstar still isnt close to being a full participant in practice, confirmed Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Rose, who has been going through the teams early group walk-through sessions before his teammates begin practice, also participated in light shooting drills at the end of Thursdays practice at the Berto Center.
However, it doesnt mean that the former league MVP is anywhere close to coming back, despite his daily desire to push the limits of recovery, as a person familiar with the situation recounted to CSNChicago.com.
Its going to be a while. Hes just got to go step by step. This is all just the normal course of his rehab. Hes doing fine, Thibodeau explained Friday morning, prior to the Bulls shootaround at Madison Square Garden, in advance of their evening game against the East-leading Knicks. Theres not any urgency other than Derricks doing everything he can to handle his rehab and thats all his focus is on right now, and thats all we want it to be on.
He did parts of practice, the coach continued, referring to reports that Rose returned to practice Thursday. Theres no contact, so thats where he is right now.
I think hes in a great place. I think he understands what hes trying to get accomplished. Hes handled that part great.
It should be noted that Roses return may be partly contingent on how the Bulls perform, as the theory that if the currently 14-10 team isnt playing well by the time hes healthy enough to come back to the courtto avoid Rose having to shoulder a heavy burden, if the Bulls are battling for a playoff seed or even to qualify for the postseasonit will delay his return, according to a source. Thibodeau shed some light on the process from his end Tuesday.
Rose will return to full practice, including the contact portion at some point. You dont go from A to Z. you have to go through each step and when he handles one step well, well move on to the next one. But you have to be patient with this. This is the type of injury that takes time, he said. Evaluating his readiness entails your medical people, obviously Derrick. Those are the big hurdles youve got to get past and hes got to be comfortable on the floor. Its right where we thought it would be and this is what you have to go through. Were going to be patient and when hes ready to go, hes ready to go.