Thibodeau insists that Rose will not return this season.
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has revealed that point guard Derrick Rose is “nowhere close” to returning to practice as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.
The 25-year-old suffered a second season-ending injury back in November, with the franchise insisting at the time that he would not return this year.
However, speaking in his first press conference after undergoing surgery last year, Rose left the door slightly ajar and admitted that much would depend on the situation and whether or not he was fully healthy.
Thibodeau has continued to dismiss the notion of seeing Rose suit up again this season, as despite the explosive point guard travelling with the team, he is nowhere close to returning to full practice.
“Nowhere close to practicing,” Thibodeau said, according to ESPN.
“He’s doing some running. He’s off the treadmill. Still on it at some times, but his full weight now, and doing lateral slides and things like that. Nowhere near practicing or anything like that.”
It was undoubtedly a blow to Chicago’s hopes this season, and after trading Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January, many expected them to fall out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference and possibly look to the Draft.
However, having gone 8-2 in their last 10 games, they are 31-26 for the season and they currently occupy the fourth seed in the East whilst being just a game adrift of the Toronto Raptors in third.
Nevertheless, they will be keen to see Rose back next season as he looks to stay healthy and resume his career after an injury-plagued few years, while speculation continues to link various names with the organisation in free agency this summer.
The Bulls are widely expected to use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer which would give them further flexibility under the salary cap, and they have been linked with an interest in New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.