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Bulls’ Derrick Rose getting closer to full practice

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose works out before an NBA basketball game between Bulls IndianPacers Tuesday Dec. 4 2012 Chicago.

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose works out before an NBA basketball game between the Bulls and the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in Chicago. Rose is recovering from torn ligaments in his left knee. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Updated: January 8, 2013 4:58PM

“Predictable contact’’ still doesn’t mean a predictable return date for Derrick Rose, but the fact that the Bulls all-everything point guard took another step in the rehab process this week has more than a few smiles on the faces of people at the Berto Center.

“It’s exciting stuff what’s going on over here,’’ center Joakim Noah insisted on Tuesday. “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.’’

According to head coach Tom Thibodeau, Rose and his surgically-repaired left anterior cruciate ligament, took part in a controlled practice, as well as getting in to some one-on-one work. If all goes well in this step of the rehab, it’s full practice time with full contact next.

“Basically he’s doing what we call predictable contact,’’ Thibodeau explained. “Knowing what’s coming. So he’s handled that part great. He’s done a little one-on-one, that’s coming around, but everyone has to be patient. The next step will be a regular practice and he hasn’t done that yet. Once he does that, then you know he’s getting closer.’’

As far as a timetable on when that could take place, Thibodeau was again adamant in not skipping steps. More importantly, Rose not skipping those steps.

“We’ve got to feel good about this,’’ Thibodeau added. “The most important thing is he’s got to feel good about it. It’s the type of injury you have to be patient, and he’s handling his part great. He’s upbeat, he’s doing his rehab daily, and that’s his entire focus. The team, they’ve just got to lock in on improvement and our next opponent, and then at some point he’ll join us.’’

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