HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The good vibrations surrounding the Chicago Bulls have more to do with the grinding they are doing in the Central Division these days without Derrick Rose.
In fact, they have everything to do with Rose and his recovery from ACL surgery, a recovery that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says is right on schedule. Any doubts that Rose would be back in uniform this season are being massaged by reports that he could return sometime after the All-Star break in February.
Rose is already back on the court, according to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald, who conveyed Thibodeau’s message regarding Rose this way:
“Everything is going according to plan,” Thibodeau said before Monday’s game. “He’s not ahead of schedule, he’s not behind schedule. He’s exactly where he should be.
“He’s doing great. You have to be patient with it. He’s been very diligent. He’s in every day. He’s moving along. He started cutting. He’s been shooting for a while now. He feels pretty good, so we just have to be patient.”
When the Bulls head out on the five-game circus road trip this week, Rose is expected to stay at his summer workout base in Los Angeles. The Bulls will spend three days in L.A. later this week before playing the Clippers on Saturday.
“We’re going to do what we think is best for both the team and Derrick,” Thibodeau said. “So on this trip, I like him being in one place, so he may meet us out in L.A., but for him the rehab has to be the priority. For us, it’s a long trip and we’re going to be jumping around, so he’ll be on the trip for part of it; he’ll meet us out in L.A.”
The longer the Bulls remain in the mix in the division without Rose, the better. Plenty of people wrote them off this season without Rose, yet the Bulls have shown themselves to be much more than the one-man crew so many assumed they’d be.
The Indiana Pacers were easy pick to pass them up in the division, but it’s the Bucks (4-2) and the Bulls (4-3) who are currently sitting atop the standings. All the Bulls have to do now is maintain their spot until the end of February, when a superstar reinforcement arrives.