Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has hinted that point guard Derrick Rose could be ahead of schedule in his rehab after undergoing knee surgery last month.
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Rose underwent the procedure last month and had his meniscus removed after suffering a second tear in two years, and while he is in deep rehab already, the signs are promising that he will be back ahead of schedule.
Thibodeau received further boosts with both Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson fully participating in practice on Tuesday for the first time in a while after they suffered elbow and ankle injuries respectively.
However, the biggest boost will come with the return of Rose who is now three weeks into his 4-6 recovery schedule set by the Bulls and he has begun to participate in non-contact activities.
“It’s the next phase of his rehab,” said Thibodeau, while adding Rose could be slightly ahead of the rehab schedule, according to CSN Chicago.
“He still has to obviously strengthen the knee. But it was good. He did a lot of non-contact stuff. It’s a good step for him.”
With 14 games left in the season, Thibodeau will be desperate to not only get his star trio back in order to help them hold on to a high seeding, but also to allow them an opportunity to work their back to full fitness ahead of the playoffs.
Chicago have lost five of their last six games and have slipped to 40-28 for the season which is enough for fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Washington Wizards are within a half-game of the them.
With Rose still a little way off, both Butler and Gibson sounded optimistic about returning in the coming week with the former insisting that it has been difficult watching on from the sidelines as the team struggles.
Nevertheless, Thibodeau will be hoping to get his star men back and add some much needed depth to the roster as they prepare themselves for an important post-season run.