With two home games and a one-game trip this week, injured Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose could participate in his first full-contact practice Thursday.
According to NBA.com, the first practice for Rose could be today since it is in between the Bulls' home contests against the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors.
The report comes on the heels of last week's news that Rose was taking part in non-contact or “predictable” drills. He has also been traveling with the team and working out before games for several weeks, like just prior to Chicago’s 100-99 overtime win over Boston.
The 24-year-old tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the first round of the 2012 playoffs last May, and underwent surgery to repair the damage and was expected to miss a minimum of eight months.
Since the injury, the Bulls coaching staff have said Rose would only make his return to the court once when he’s “100 percent” healthy. Bulls fans will remember when the franchise held back legend Michael Jordan after he broke his foot during the 1985-86 season. The Bulls' cautiousness then paid off much later, with Jordan never missing more than a couple of games a season due to injury, and capturing six championships.
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Rose is expected to play more than the 18 games Jordan appeared in that season. The former MVP was slated to return after the All-Star break, which would peg Chicago’s trip to the New Orleans Hornets on Feb. 19 as Rose’s first game back.
The Bulls are one game behind the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division and are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference. Chicago, ranked 25th in points per game, will need Rose’s leadership and scoring during the final 30 games of the season to move up the standings.
This is the first major injury for Rose, who is known for his high-flying dunks and his ability to quickly cut and change directions. The three-time All-Star has averaged 21 points and 6.8 assists in his four-year career after being selected the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.