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Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau: Derrick Rose ‘still has a ways to go’

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Updated: March 18, 2013 2:35PM



All the conspiracy theories about Derrick Rose playing Monday against Denver because of a television channel change were put to rest on Sunday, as it became very evident that Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t much into conspiracy theories.

“Nothing has changed,’’ Thibodeau said of his MVP point guard, who did go through a full practice at the Berto Center. “He keeps improving, he still has a ways to go.’’

It’s the “ways to go’’ part that won’t sit well with Bulls fans, or more specifically, the social media world that was declaring Rose a possibility because Comcast SportsNet announced that it moved the Bulls game from CSN-plus to their main station.

Thibodeau was asked if Rose could play at all during the upcoming three-game homestand, especially because it makes sense that if there is a debut for Rose this season, it would take place at home.

“I’m not going to get into that,’’ Thibodeau responded. “When he’s ready, he’s ready. He’s got to keep working, that’s all.’’

What does work in Rose’s favor is not only this week, but the next few weeks.

The Bulls play five of their next seven games at the United Center, which means a lot of practice time for the guard to push the surgically-repaired anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He had his best practice since the injury Thursday in Oakland, and reported no pain or setbacks on Friday.

All along the Bulls have insisted that Rose needed to be able to go full speed in practice, have no setbacks, and do that day after day.

The fact that he again went hard on Sunday seems to indicate that process has started.

“He’s working hard, man, he’s working hard,’’ teammate Joakim Noah said of Rose after the Sunday workout. “He’s moving right, he’s doing all the right things, so it feels good to see him out there.’’

Not as good as it will feel to see Rose out on the court in a regular-season game, and especially if he can bring a few friends along with him.

The Bulls were still operating short-handed, and will do so against a Denver team that is on an 11-game winning streak, which includes wins over the likes of the Lakers, the Thunder, the Knicks and Memphis.

Kirk Hinrich, who has missed the last six games with a stress reaction in his right foot, did not participate in practice on Sunday, but shot around afterwards.

Taj Gibson [sprained left MCL] was practicing without the large knee brace, but Thibodeau said he was day-to-day.

And then there’s Richard Hamilton, who has missed the last eight games with a back problem, and while he was at the facility after staying back in Chicago for the West Coast trip, he is no closer to returning.

“Well, I’ve been through situations when you’ve had people out,’’ Thibodeau said of all the injury problems to hit his team this season. “Never quite [like this]. The advantage from this situation is that we knew Derrick was going to be out and we knew that from the summer. That did give us a chance to prepare but what you’re not planning on is all of the other injuries.

“But that’s part of the NBA and that’s why you have everyone on your team and it’s so important for them to be ready when they go in. You never know when that time comes and when that time does come you have to take advantage of it and get the job done. We need everybody. We’re short-handed. We know our chance for success is to do it collectively.’’



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