Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago writes:
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Derrick Rose took “the next step” in his return from knee surgery by taking more contact in practice on Tuesday.
Ever since Rose tore the ACL in his left knee during last season’s first round playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Bulls fans have been eagerly anticipating any news on when he might return. But this latest update has a “day after Thanksgiving for kids anticipating Christmas” feeling to it. It’s finally starting to seem real.
Said Thibs: “He did a little bit more. He’s taking on some contact. He’s doing fine. He’s been cleared for more contact so we went to the next step today. You have to remember in practice you’re trying to get it as close to a game-like condition as you can with the understanding that there’s nothing like a game. There’s nothing that matches that intensity. We strive to get it there, but it’s different. We have to make sure he can handle this intensity first and then we’ll go from there, but he’s doing great. He’s shown great patience, and everybody has to show great patience.”
So Rose has taken the next step. That said, the team still doesn’t want to rush Rose or establish unrealistic expectations. Rose will return when the time is right and his knee is 100 percent ready…and not a nanosecond before.
Said Thibs: “It’s going to be a while. It’s the next step in the rehab. Everyone has to be patient. He’s doing fine, he’s playing more, he’s practicing more, so he’s doing well. We want him to concentrate on rehab, the team just continue to concentrate on improvement and our next opponent. Nothing’s changed.”
Added Rip Hamilton: “We know it’s going to take time. We just kind of allow Derrick to (be) him. It was good to see him just out on the floor moving around getting a little contact and things like that. With us we just want him to take his time … We didn’t do a whole lot of contact with him personally, but it’s one of them things when he’s out there he doesn’t want you to back up off of him because he wants to challenge himself.”
And Bulls fans want to see him challenge the opposition. It’s getting closer.