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Derrick Rose Close To Full-Contact Practice

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 22, 2013 4:00PM

It's been a long rehabilitation process for Derrick Rose, who is working himself back after rupturing his ACL in the first game of last year's NBA playoffs. It's been a long process for Bulls fans, too, who are anxious to see the team's superstar and most exciting player return to the court. In perhaps the clearest sign that his return is within sight, Rose may be cleared for full-contact practice as soon as this week.

Rose has taken part in more practices and has started traveling with the team on the road again. He delighted fans who saw him shooting on the United Center court during pre-game warm-ups. The Bulls' upcoming schedule works to Rose's advantage in terms of a full return to practice. The team plays just two road games in the next 10 days, which makes the timing good for him to progress to his final step of rehab while under the watchful eye of the entire medical and training staff.

When asked about Rose's status for a return to full contact, coach Tom Thibodeau said, ‘‘Very close, very close. ‘That’s the next step.’’ When asked if that meant this week, he responded, "It could."

It's still undetermined how long Rose would practice full out before he's ready to return to game action. Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who tore his ACL the same day as Rose, made his season debut recently, nine days after he was cleared for full contact. But don't expect the Bulls to rush Rose to the court as fast, given his importance to the team and their big financial investment in him. It does look like his return is possible right after the All-Star break in mid-February. But the team might even wait a couple more weeks, in order to find an optimal time in the team's schedule. While the Bulls have played better than expected, sporting a 24-16 record currently, there isn't a Bulls fan alive who can't wait to see Rose return to the court. And if his rehab continues to progress as it has been, it's only a matter before Thibs describes Rose's status as "day-to-day."