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Derrick Rose might be able to go full speed in practice soon

Joakim Noah rejects shot by Carmelo Anthony during Bulls’ 108-101 victory. Noah blocked four shots 29 minutes. | Bruce Bennett~Getty

Joakim Noah rejects a shot by Carmelo Anthony during the Bulls’ 108-101 victory. Noah blocked four shots in 29 minutes. | Bruce Bennett~Getty Images

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TONIGHT

SUNS AT BULLS

The facts: 7, Ch. 9, 1000-AM.

Updated: February 13, 2013 6:14AM



NEW YORK — Eight million stories in the naked city, and the only one that anyone seemed to care about Friday night in New York was the latest update on ­Derrick Rose.

The injured Bulls star not only made his second consecutive road trip with the team, but he took part in the morning shootaround and worked out on the court before the game, letting go jumper after jumper.

The way coach Tom Thibodeau sounded, Rose could be full go in practice this week

“Sort of evaluate it every week,’’ Thibodeau said. “He’s getting closer because he’s taking on some contact, but it’s a step-by-step process. Everyone has to be patient.’’

That’s easier said than done, especially with his teammates knowing that they’ve held up their end of the bargain by doing more than just treading water. They’re actually winning games.

“We’re working hard, we’re playing good, we’ve got some big games coming up, and you know we’ve got our MVP, he’s going to come back, so it’s pretty cool,’’ center Joakim Noah said this week.

Rose, who had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in May, began light practice with the team just after Christmas. Then came practice with “predictable contact.’’ Once he shows he can go through full practices with no setbacks, it’s time for “The Return.’’

All Thibodeau cares about is that Rose has his focus in the right place.

“There’s high maintenance, low maintenance and no maintenance. And that’s Derrick,’’ Thibodeau said.

“That’s just who he is. Great team player, great teammate, mentally strong, he’s got a great will, and so he understands what he has to go through, and he’s done a great job with it.’’

Kirk back at it

Despite popping a bursa sac in his right elbow with a good chance of having it get infected, guard Kirk Hinrich returned to the starting lineup against the Knicks.

Hinrich’s presence was instantly felt. He dished out four assists in the first quarter, giving the Bulls the early 29-18 lead.

It also allowed Nate Robinson to return to his role of coming off the bench and adding instant offense.

“When you look at offensively, shot distribution, it’s going to be well-balanced, your primary scorers are going to be in rhythm, they’re going to be getting their shots,’’ Thibodeau said of Hinrich. “And defensively, he makes people work.’’

Old habits …

Noah stopped doing his “Guns of Glory’’ post-shot celebration after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., last month, but he had a relapse against the Knicks.

Noah hit a baseline jumper in the first, did the finger guns and jammed them in the imaginary holster.



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