Ever since he first tore his ACL during Game 1 of the Bulls first-round playoff series last spring, the progress of Derrick Rose has been something of a mystery, as the organization hasnt been exactly forthcoming with updates, and for good reason, being that they would be deluged by requests for information about the superstars rehabilitation efforts.
But CSNChicago.com has learned that over the last two days, minus the contact portions, the former league MVP has been a full participant in the teams practices at the Berto Center.
However, that doesnt mean Rose will return to the court in the near future, as it was always the plan to have him increase his basketball workload in an effort to get familiar with his new teammates, have a comfort level in running the offense and regain a semblance of his timing, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
While there is no set timetable for Rose to resume playing, according to multiple sources, the 24-year-old point guard will be back on the court sometime after the NBA All-Star break.
There are still some hurdles to clear most notably, taking contact in practice, something hed have to do for a significant period of time before getting clearance to play but one of the next steps, traveling with the team on the road, should occur on one of the Bulls upcoming January road trips, according to multiple people with knowledge of Roses recovery, including the player himself, told CSNChicago.com (the All-Star point guard and this writer happened to be leaving the Berto Center simultaneously after the teams shootaround Saturday morning).
Still, before Rose returns to action, he will again take a visit to Southern California, where he has split time doing rehabilitation, in order to have the medical specialists he has consulted with there examine him, according to a source.
That same source told CSNChicago.com that Roses return will be a collective decision made between the players representatives, the organization and its medical staff, as well as Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. But, regardless of medical clearance, Rose will have to be comfortable mentally in order to get the go-ahead to play, making the idea of coming back early moot, as his next game will be exactly when the stars align, so to speak.
While many observers have cited the case of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, in the midst of a career and potentially record-breaking season, as an example of an explosive athlete who returned from ACL rapidly and at the same, if not higher level, it should be noted that there are vast differences in the two athletes body types, nature of their sports and respective recovery processes, as recently detailed by Peterson in Sports Illustrated.
As far as what Rose has been doing in practice, its much of the same as what has been previously walking through dummy offensive sets, shooting drills but according to a person familiar with the proceedings, hes also dunking the basketball occasionally, going full speed when its called for and participating in staples of Bulls practices, such as defensive slides and closeout drills.
Though Rose acknowledged Saturday that he felt blessed to be back on the court and sources say his teammates are equally as pleased to see him increasing his participation, though it has not raised their expectations and while the sight of him at away games in the near future will surely bring more anticipation, that is also part of the recovery process.
Another person with knowledge of the situation told CSNChicago.com that it wont affect the Bulls roster moves, particularly in regard to backup point guard Nate Robinson and his non-guaranteed contract, of which the team must make a decision about by Jan. 10 who is likely to remain with the squad for the rest of the season.
Regardless, its an encouraging sign overall and while patience on the part of fans and media alike should be exercised, for Roses long-term future, which seemed so shaky just months ago, perhaps it may partially allay the fears that the Chicago native wont be able to overcome a significant roadblock in the way of reaching his magnificent potential.