Derrick Rose takes first contact in practice since Feb. 27 surgery, but still no timetable set

SHARE Derrick Rose takes first contact in practice since Feb. 27 surgery, but still no timetable set

It was the next step for Derrick Rose on Monday.

A big one at that.

According to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, his point guard took contact in practice for the first time since he underwent surgery on his right knee back on Feb. 27. The third knee surgery Rose has had since the left anterior cruciate ligament first betrayed him back in the 2012 postseason.

Thibodeau ran Rose through two four-on-four scrimmage sessions, and came away from the afternoon with a bit more clarity on where exactly the guard was in his rehab process.

“Some good,’’ Thibodeau said of the showing from Rose. “A little winded, which is to be expected. Body-on-body, full-court. But it will come. The more he does that, the faster it will come.

“Just take it day by day. We can’t jump ahead. He’s been out a long time. So he’s got to work his way through it. We have to concentrate on getting everyone ready.’’

Maybe so, but everyone entered this week ready. All except Rose.

Both Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson returned from injuries the last 10 days, with Rose the last piece with just eight regular-season games left.

So when can Thibodeau expect Rose back? Never an easy question to answer.

“Well, ultimately he’s got to feel comfortable,’’ Thibodeau said. “You can’t put him out there if he’s not comfortable. That’s the big thing. Each week he’s done a lot more. This is the next step, so hopefully he’ll be good.

“We’ll know more as he goes forward. Obviously, he needs some practice time where he’s taking contact.’’

The original timetable for Rose was four-to-six weeks. This Friday will be week five for Rose. The guard admitted last week that usually after contact starts taking place there’s a one or two week window before the full return.

On other words, the clock is ticking if Rose wants any chance to get into a rhythm before the intensity picks up in playoff basketball.

Any feelings Rose had on the matter remained unknown, especially since he refused to meet with the media at the Advocate Center.

Rose, however, did say last week in Toronto that he still planned to be back before the regular season ended, “But who knows? Whenever I’m ready to come back, that’s when I’m going to come back.’’

Teammate Joakim Noah took a laid-back approach to the entire drama.

Asked if Rose showed any flashes of “Old Rose’’ in the Monday scrimmages, Noah said, “It was his first four-on-four contact since surgery, so relax.’’

“I think he did well. He’s working hard. We’re all working hard. It’s good to have Derrick back in the contact part of practice. He’s just got to keep going. He’s a competitor, so he hates to lose, even if it’s three-on-three or four-on-four, just get that competitive spirit. This is what we do, we live to play the game. We’re looking forward to getting Derrick back.’’

The Bulls have gone 9-8 without Rose in this current stretch, and 16-12 without him on the year.

“When he gets hurt, it’s not just him,’’ Noah said. “It’s on all of us. We all feel it. We’re a family. We spend more time together than we do with our families. It hurts to see him go down or to see any of your guys go down. We know how much we put into this. To see him come back and be resilient like that, I think it makes our team stronger.’’

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