Derrick Rose practices with Bulls for first time since injury
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media December 20, 2012 9:38PM
Bulls guard Derrick Rose shoots around during a short workout before the Chicago Bulls-Indiana Pacers NBA game Tuesday December 4, 2012. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
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Updated: January 22, 2013 10:06AM
Though news of Derrick Rose’s progress may come at a slow drip, by now enough has drizzled out of the Berto Center to indicate his return to Bulls practice could be near.
After Thursday’s session, coach Tom Thibodeau revealed that Rose had participated in the non-contact portion of practice. Previously he had only participated in what Thibodeau deemed ‘‘pre-practice’’ activity and individual shooting drills afterward.
Thibodeau cautioned that Rose is still rehabbing from surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament last May. But it appears his reintegration is in full effect.
‘‘It’s great to see him out here,’’ fellow guard Nate Robinson said. ‘‘Today he did little shooting drills with us and stuff like that. For him to get closer and closer, for the Bulls fans, it’s definitely a relief.
‘‘Every single day he comes in here way early and he leaves late. So he’s pushing himself, and it’s good to see.’’
Rose interrupted his post-practice free-throw shooting to have a three-minute conversation with Thibodeau before Thibodeau addressed reporters.
Thibodeau said Rose felt good but will not travel with the team for back-to-back games in New York and Atlanta beginning Friday at Madison Square Garden.
If Rose travels with the team, that could be an indication his return is near, as he’ll likely travel so he can practice fully.
‘‘The thing is he still has a lot that he has to do in terms of his rehab,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘So once he gets that cleared up a little bit more, then he may travel more with us. It depends on what’s best for him and what’s best for our team. So we just have to be patient. He’s doing fine.’’
Despite Thursday’s milestone, Thibodeau wouldn’t indicate any target date for Rose to return to the lineup.
Some clarity could help the team as it assesses its roster over the next few weeks. Robinson signed a contract this offseason that doesn’t become guaranteed until Jan. 10. The Bulls could save money by releasing him before that date, but much of that could weigh heavily on when Rose is set to return to the lineup.
Veteran Kirk Hinrich and rookie Marquis Teague have contracts that extend beyond this season. If the Bulls retained Robinson, the roster would include four players who primarily play point guard when Rose returns.
‘‘Right now I’m here doing everything they ask, and hopefully that’s good enough,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘If not, then I’ve got to work harder.
‘‘Life’s not guaranteed. Look at all the tragedy that’s happening in the world now. But for me, just live day to day. Like I said, if it comes and I get the guaranteed contract, I’ll be happy, and if not, I’ll keep pushing. I’m not going to drop my head or nothing.’’
N OTE: Forward Taj Gibson did not participate in practice Thursday, sitting out with a sore right ankle. He was only able to do stretching and cardiovascular work.
Thibodeau deemed Gibson day-to-day for the Bulls’ game against the Knicks on Friday. He is expected to be re-evaluated at the shootaround Friday morning.