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Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau mum on Derrick Rose’s return

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would not elaborate timetable for guard Derrick Rose's return from knee surgery.  | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would not elaborate on the timetable for guard Derrick Rose's return from knee surgery. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 4, 2012 9:50PM



The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

As Marco Belinelli was talking about Derrick Rose on Tuesday, and the anticipation of his return, there was Rose in the back of the practice facility, going through his running program.

“Yes,’’ Belinelli replied, when asked if Rose looked good to him in the rehab process from his repaired left ACL. “Every time he’s working a lot in the gym, so everybody can’t wait for that. But right now we’re focused on playing without him.

“He’s going to be back, I hope soon, but right now it’s important for us to win games.’’

How soon?

The Bulls remained mum on that.

A source told the Sun-Times on Monday that several Bulls players had the belief Rose could be back practicing with the team just before Christmas, and that topic was brought up with head coach Tom Thibodeau after the morning shoot-around.

Thibodeau wasn’t budging on the protocol.

“He’s doing fine, but we’re not going to get into daily updates,’’ Thibodeau said. “It’s going to be the same, he’s focused on his rehab, he’s got a long way to go, and we have to concentrate on our next opponent and our improvement.’’

Asked if there was any chance Rose could be back practicing with the team by the end of the year?

“Yeah, as I said, we’re focused on our next opponent and the guys that are here right now,’’ was the reply.

After several questions about the Pacers and the fact that Marco Belinelli was named the starter in place of Rip Hamilton tonight, the Rose topic was once again brought up.

Thibodeau said that Rose had been into a running program for “awhile.’’

Asked again if there was any way he could return to practice this month, Thibodeau’s reply was, “Who knows? He’s a long ways from that. But he’s doing well, he’s doing well.’’

It’s obvious his teammates are anxious to see the No. 1 back out there, and the sooner the better.

“Great,’’ Belinelli replied, when asked how Rose looked to him in his rehab. “I mean Derrick is a great guy. I remember the first time when I made the decision to come here and play for Chicago, he texted me, and I can’t wait to play with him. I played with CP [Chris Paul], one of the best point guards in the league, so I can’t wait to play with [Rose], too.’’



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