DEERFIELD, ILL.Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was somewhat dodgy about when it would occur, but before his teams Monday home win over the Lakers, he indicated that Derrick Rose could start to take on more contact at practices.
Could turned into did Tuesday, as the former league MVP took the next step at the Bulls afternoon practice at the Berto Center, according to Thibodeau.
He did a little bit more. Hes taking on some contact. Hes doing fine, Thibodeau explained after the session. "Hes been cleared for more contact, so we went to the next step today.
Its going to be a while. Its the next step in the rehab, he continued. Hes playing more, hes practicing more.
In practice, youre trying to get it as close to a game-like condition as you can, with the understanding that theres nothing like a game. Theres nothing that matches that intensity. We strive to get it there, but its different, so you have to make sure that he can handle this intensity first and then, well go from there.
A person with knowledge of the situation told CSNChicago.com that Rose has been taking on more contact since approximately last week, but in one-on-one sessions and with Bulls staffers, not players, making Tuesday a relatively significant step in the process.
Hes going against his teammates, Thibodeau said. The challenge is where you are in your schedule, but well figure it out.
Teammate Rip Hamilton was cautiously optimistic about Roses progress.
We know its going to take time. We kind of allow Derrick to just do him. It was good to just see him on the floor, moving around, getting a little contact. But with us, we just want him to take his time, the veteran guard said. Once he starts playingwe didnt do a whole lot of contact with him, personallybut its one of those things that when hes out there, he doesnt want you to back off him because he wants to challenge himself. Any opportunity hes on the floor, he wants to challenge himself and see how good he is, so you want to try to make him play some.
Hamilton, however, wouldnt divulge many details, perhaps being cautious of telling more than the secretive Thibodeau would desire.
I mean, you all just talked to Thibs, Hamilton said with a smirk on his face. What did he say?