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Derrick Rose hints at no return this season in interview

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose works out before Bulls' NBA basketball game against Utah Jazz Friday Feb. 8 2013 Salt Lake

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose works out before the Bulls' NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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Updated: February 12, 2013 9:33PM

Derrick Rose gave a jolt to Bulls fans eagerly awaiting his return.

“I’m not coming back until I’m 110 percent,” he told USA Today in a story published Tuesday. “Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It’s just that I’m not coming back until I’m ready.’’

Rose, who is returning after surgery in May to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, insisted on being 110 percent when he begins playing games for real. Asked close he was to 110 percent, he said: “Right now, probably in the high 80s. Far away. Far away.’’

Coach Tom Thibodeau said that comes as no surprise to the Bulls.

“That’s what we’ve been saying all along,’’ Thibodeau said. “There’s no change there, when he’s ready, he’ll play.’’

As far as the “high 80s’’ assessment, Thibodeau was in complete agreement with Rose.

“Nope, nope, he’s right where he should be,’’ he replied when asked if he was concerned with Rose’s statement. “He’s right on the schedule. When he’s ready we’ll know, and then we’ll go from there. That’s why we’ve approached it the way we have. The team has to concentrate on their improvement and their next opponent, he has to do his rehab. Then at some point he’ll rejoin us and we’ll go from there. Nothing has changed.

“If [the high 80s is] what he’s saying … you guys know Derrick, he’s going to tell you honestly where he is. He’s just got to keep working, he’s making good progress.’’

What Thibodeau and the team have updated as far as his progress was that Rose was going through full contact in practice for several weeks now with no setbacks, but because of the schedule and all the injuries, had yet to go through five-on-five full scrimmages. Players have been brought in early for extra work, and Rose has faced off against different teammates in those situations with no setbacks.

“The big thing is to understand in a practice you’re never going to get to an NBA-game-like intensity,’’ Thibodeau said. “You’re going to strive to get as close as possible, but you’re not going to get there. We’ll know. He’s just got to keep doing the things he’s been doing and it’s going to work out fine.’’

Rose detailed for USA Today the kind of player he expects to be when he does return to play.

“I know it’s going to be something good,” Rose said. “With all this hard work I’ve been putting into my game, I’m doing stuff I never did before. I gained 10, 11 pounds of muscle. I don’t know what type of player I’m going to be. I just know that I’m going to be very good.”

What the article did do was again open up the possibility of what will the Bulls be like if Rose doesn’t return this season.

Thibodeau was asked if he felt like Rose would be back this season, and said, “If he’s ready.’’

“To me, that’s why we’ve taken the approach that we have. There’s no timetable. It’s when he’s ready. We’re not measuring it against somebody else’s timetable, it’s just this is Derrick, when he’s ready he will go.’’

Note: Joakim Noah was limited in practice on Tuesday because of the plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but expected to start against the Celtics, while Kirk Hinrich will stay back and rehab the infection in his right elbow.

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