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NBA: Rose to travel with team, but return still far off

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 12:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 12:15 a.m. CDT
Chicago point guard Derrick Rose watches the Bulls' game against the Buck from the front row near the bench Oct. 16 at the United Center in Chicago.

Derrick Rose will travel on the Chicago Bulls’ two-game trip to Orlando and Miami, but coach Tom Thibodeau downplayed expectations of a more expedited return from knee surgery.

“You don’t want to rule out anything,” Thibodeau said. “But he has to go through regular practice for an extended amount of time before we even think about him playing.”

The general estimate on Rose has been a return after the All-Star break, sometime in late February or early March.

“Whether it’s after the All-Star break, 2 weeks after, it’s when he’s ready,” Thibodeau said. “When he makes it through practices for an extended amount of time and there’s not any soreness the next day, we’ll make a decision then. He’s got a long way to go.”

Rose is making his first trip with the Bulls since tearing his left ACL last April 28. He spent time around the team in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, but was already in that city for rehabilitation purposes.

Thibodeau said Rose won’t sit on the bench during the games.

Rose has been participating in non-contact portions of practice. and joked with teammates after Tuesday’s New Year’s Day practice about taking left turns while running laps. This is yet another sign that his return isn’t imminent.

“He’s doing more of practice, but he still can’t take full contact,” Thibodeau said. “There are several steps he has to go through. This is all part of the plan of bringing him back. But everybody has to be patient.”

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