Thibodeau: Rose taking 'predictable contact' in practice

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Thibodeau: Rose taking 'predictable contact' in practice

DEERFIELD, ILL. As his rehabilitation from ACL surgery progresses, sidelined Bulls point guard Derrick Rose continues to take more steps in the recovery progress. The former league MVP is now taking predictable contact in practice, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau revealed Tuesday.

Obviously its knowing whats coming and so, hes handled that part great. Hes done a little one-on-one, and thats coming around. But everyone has to be patient, the coach explained after Tuesdays afternoon session at the Berto Center. The next step will be a regular practice and he hasnt done that yet, so once he does that, youll know hes getting closer.

While Rose is making progress and demonstrates to the assembled media, in the waning moments of practices, that hes retained his outside shooting touch, it doesnt mean that his return is imminent.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Chicago native will participate in three-on-three drills in the near future before being cleared to play in full-court five-on-five activities, hopefully by the end of the month, at which point, hell practice extensively before a likely return sometime after the All-Star break.

Weve got to feel good about this and the most important thing is hes got to feel really good about it. But its the type of injury where you have to be patient and hes handling his part great. Hes upbeat, hes doing his rehab daily and thats his entire focus, and the team, theyve just got to lock into our improvement and our next opponent, and then, at some point, hell rejoin us, Thibodeau said.

Ive talked to him every day. Im glad that hes approached things the way that he has. Hes been patient, hes been upbeat, hes doing his part. You couldnt ask for anything more. He puts everything he has into the rehab and then, hes fully engaged with his teammates. Even from the time he got injured, we were pretty much in daily contact. Hes doing great and coming along. Hes right where he should be.

Roses teammate, Joakim Noah, added: Were not really looking over our shoulders because hes with us every day, so we get to see the progress, but I think its good. Right now, were just trying to play the best basketball possible, knowing that he is going to come back. Thats a good feeling, but now weve got to keep grinding it out and keep getting these wins. The truth is, he has to be patient and we need to give him as much time as he needs, so he can come back when hes 100 percent.

Hes into it and its good to have Derrick on the road. Hes definitely watching the games and passionate about the games. He obviously wants to be out there, but he needs to be patient, he continued. Its exciting stuff, whats going on over here. Were working hard, were playing pretty good, weve got some big games coming up and you know weve got our MVP hes going to come back so yeah, its pretty cool.

Meanwhile, the teams current starting point guard, veteran Kirk Hinrich, missed Tuesdays practice, after suffering an elbow injury in Monday nights home win over Cleveland. His status is day-to-day, according to Thibodeau.

Hinrich is a little dinged-up on his elbow, I guess, Thibodeau explained, noting that Hinrich was injured on a play when he was hustling for a loose ball against the Cavaliers. I dont think he had stitches. Just bandaged up right now.

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

Carmelo Anthony: 'I'm glad (Derrick Rose) is on my team'

by Jonathan Joffe

Derrick Rose has a new fan now that he's in New York: Carmelo Anthony.

Rose's new teammate and fellow multi-time all-star is a happy to be teaming up with the former Bull.

In addition to complimenting Rose's game, Anthony applauded the Knicks' front office for making moves that allow the team to be competitive in the upcoming season.

It was once thought that Melo and D-Rose could sport the same uniform aside from Olympic competitions. While it won't be in Chicago, the two will be making that thought a reality in New York.

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

Report: Pau Gasol tells Bulls he has declined option, becoming a free agent

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Pau Gasol is hitting the market.

Gasol told the Bulls that he has declined his option for the 2016-17 season and will become a free agent, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year, $22.3 million deal with the Bulls in the summer of 2014.

In two seasons with the Bulls, he averaged 17.6 points per game and 11.4 rebounds and made an All-Star appearance.

Bulls: NBA Validation for Valentine came in the United Center last season

Bulls: NBA Validation for Valentine came in the United Center last season

Denzel Valentine’s annual growth had long been noticed by NBA executives but perhaps fittingly, it was a game in Chicago that served as the reinforcement he needed to know the NBA was in his sights.

On a national stage and on the United Center floor last November, Valentine put up one of the best stat lines in college basketball, leading Michigan State to a comeback 79-73 win over Kansas, a team ranked No. 4 in the nation at the time.

If he had any doubts about his future, a 29-point, 12-rebound and 12-assist performance served as the confirmation he was on an upward trajectory.

“I knew I could play in the NBA when I started my career at Michigan State,” Valentine said to CSNChicago.com after his introductory news conference. “Playing against guys like (Victor) Oladipo, (Cody) Zeller and those guys, I knew I could play in the NBA but I didn’t know I would be a first round, 14th pick. But I realized that this year after my triple double against Kansas.

“I realized I could be the best player in the country. It was very important because I got off to a good start and it helped me throughout the year.”

That night, the Bulls were rolling right along at 7-3, headed out West for a four-game trip and looking every bit like a team that would be in the thick of Eastern Conference contention. The likelihood of a marriage between a player billed as a mid-lottery pick and the Bulls seemed improbable if not damn near impossible.

But the Bulls hit several roadblocks and landed in the draft lottery, while Valentine put together one of the more complete statistical seasons in recent memory, averaging nearly 20 points and almost eight rebounds and eight assists.

Valentine hit a roadblock of his own with draft preparation, as word about prospective teams red-flagging his left knee began to trickle out, raising questions about his long-term availability.

At least one team in the lottery definitively passed on Valentine because of fears surrounding his knee, which was surgically worked on in high school and followed by a minor procedure in December, causing him to miss four games.

“It did surprise me because I’m healthy now,” Valentine said. “I only missed four games. I can control what I can control and let the chips fall that it may. I was a little surprised, a little angry that people were texting me asking if I were hurt. And I was like ‘what?’ But at the same time, I could control what I could control and I’m happy to be here.”

Missing a few practices here and there seemed to be the biggest side effect for Valentine through the season, as accolades followed nonetheless with him winning National Player of the Year over Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, who went sixth in last Thursday’s draft.

“He’s gonna go out there and fight,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s been in so many high-pressure games at Michigan State. For a guy that played in Final Fours, made big play after big play. He’s been a part of winning cultures since high school. That’s huge, great experience for Denzel. If he can suit up, he can play.”

The awards are certainly not a precursor for pro success, as more than a few collegiate POY’s have wound up as professional carcasses in an unforgiving game.

But the qualities Valentine was noted for in college could translate to the NBA, and from the sounds of things he’ll get every opportunity with the Bulls to show off his versatility.

He’ll be thrown into the shallow end of the pool, so to speak, in Summer League next month. New acquisition Jerian Grant (via the Derrick Rose trade), Cristiano Felicio, Bobby Portis and Spencer Dinwiddie (acquired for Cameron Bairstow) will also join Valentine in Las Vegas.

“He's a basketball player,” Hoiberg said. “That's the big thing I got from talking to coach (Tom) Izzo, is you can play him all over the court. He's a facilitator. He's an excellent positional rebounder. He can bust out with the ball. And he gives you the opportunity to play in so many ways.”

Valentine wasn’t given a definitive position, and perhaps there’s no natural one over the other. But having the ability to be a floor-spreading point guard with Jimmy Butler handling or even a small-ball power forward leaves Hoiberg and the Bulls plenty of options.

“And I think how we want to play with our young core, how Fred we wants to play, we think it's a perfect fit in regards to his skill level and his basketball IQ and what he brings to the floor,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said.