This marks the second straight road trip Rose has made with his teammates as he continues his rehab from a torn ACL in his left knee. Rose accompanied the Bulls to Florida last week for victories over the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.
Joakim Noah, sidelined because of the flu on Jan. 2, watched the Bulls' victory over the Magic in the locker room at the Amway Center with Rose.
"He's into it," Noah said. "And it's good to have Derrick on the road. He's definitely watching the games and passionate about the games. He obviously wants to be out there but he needs to be patient."
It is uncertain whether Rose will join his teammates on the bench at Madison Square Garden.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said earlier this week that Rose has started taking some "predictable contact" from teammates in practice as he works his way back.
"He's handled that part great," Thibodeau said at the time. "He's done a little one on one, that's coming around, but he's still ... everyone has to be patient. The next step will be a regular practice, and he hasn't done that yet. So once he does that, you know he's getting closer."
His teammates have enjoyed having him on the road again and are looking forward to his return. Bulls forward Jimmy Butler even acknowledged that Rose has started dunking a little bit again. Butler admitted that the Bulls have to be extra cautious practicing again with him on the floor.
"We definitely don't want to get him hurt again," Butler said. "We know if he's going to the cup, let him go. (If it's) an open J, contest it, but don't let him come down any wrong way. Playing smart basketball at the same time -- and that goes for anybody -- don't undercut anybody. Things that basketball players do with their teammates, we know. As far as he goes, he's continuing to go hard, that's for sure."
Rose injured his knee in the first game of the Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 28. He had surgery on May 12 and was expected to be out between 8-12 months.
One of Thibodeau's biggest duties these days is managing expectations that come with Rose's reappearance on the road. Thibodeau said it hasn't been that much different with Rose being around every day because the pair was already in constant communication.
"I've talked to him every day so ... I'm glad he's approached things the way that he has," Thibodeau said. "He's been patient, he's been upbeat. He's doing his part. You couldn't ask for anything more, he puts everything he has every day into the rehab. He's fully engaged with his teammates. Even from the time he got injured, we're pretty much in daily contact so he's doing great and coming along. He's right where he should be."
With so much time off the floor and in the film room over the past few months, Thibodeau was asked how Rose would fare as a coach.
"He definitely could be a coach," Thibodeau said. "But I don't know if he'd want the headache. But he's got the right mindset. He's got a great demeanor. But I'm sure that hasn't even crossed his mind at this point. He's just thinking about playing and what our team has to do."