While Derrick Rose made headlines when he said he was fine sitting out the entire 2013 season, he is still rehabbing his injured knee heavily in an effort to return to basketball action quickly. On Monday, he made another step towards getting back on court and playing. Rose participated in five-on-five drills for the first time since tearing his ACL during the team's opening playoff game in 2012. This could mean Bulls' fans see Rose back sooner rather than later.
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For weeks Rose has been medically cleared to participate in regular contact drills. Monday was his first chance to play in a full scrimmage with the team. Rose's original date to return was after the All-Star break, but he recently told media he did not feel like his knee was ready. The team has remained tight-lipped on how Rose really looked in the scrimmage and how much he participated.
"He was able to get out there, it was good. I'm sure it was helpful for him to give him a good gauge of where he's at," Kirk Hinrich said.
Teammates have described Rose as being the first in the gym in the morning and the last one to leave. His participation in practice and traveling with the team has been very limited up until this point. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has stressed all season that Rose is on schedule with his rehab work and has not had any setbacks that could postpone his return.
"He's doing what he should be doing. He's focused on his rehab, doing more and more. We just have to be patient. When he's ready, he'll go," Thibodeau said.
Rose said he does not want to return until his leg is "110 percent." Fans feared that outside influences like sponsors were pushing him to return before his leg was ready, something both Rose and Thibodeau have both shot down. Rose is focused on his rehab and only that.
"I'd love to return. I would love to. that's why I approach my rehab and my workout so hard. I'm trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible," Rose said.
Participating in five-on-five drills and being cleared for full contact workouts is certainly a step in the right direction for Rose to return for the Bulls to make a deep playoff run. The team is currently second in the Central division at 30-22. Chicago faces New Orleans on Tuesday.