Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose is getting closer and closer to a return to the court following ACL surgery back in May. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau revealed after practice Tuesday that Rose is taking "predictable contact," and that the next step is a regular practice (via CSN Chicago):
"Obviously it's knowing what's coming and so, he's handled that part great. He's done a little one-on-one, and that's coming around. But everyone has to be patient," the coach explained after Tuesday's afternoon session at the Berto Center. "The next step will be a regular practice and he hasn't done that yet, so once he does that, you'll know he's getting closer."
While these reports are obviously positive, that does not mean a Rose return is imminent. CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam reports that Rose is planning to participate in three-on-three drills in the near future, which would then hopefully be followed by full five-on-five scrimmages by the end of the month. There's still no official timetable on Rose's return, but most indications are that the point guard will be back sometime after the All-Star break in mid-February.
Rose tore his left ACL back on April 28 in Game 1 of the Bulls' first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Chicago has performed admirably in Rose's absence this season, posting a record of 19-13, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference.
The hope for many Bulls fans is that Rose will come back and help spur a deep playoff run. There should be some caution however, as it will likely take some time for Rose to get acclimated back into the lineup. For reference, Minnesota's Ricky Rubio has been playing limited minutes in his return from an ACL injury, and has also dealt with back spasms that Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman thinks could be the result of overcompensation for the knee.
The Bulls' organization has been stressing caution with Rose, and for good reason. There's little point in rushing Rose right back into action for an outside shot at a title when his long-term future is at stake.