Rose might join Bulls on bench vs. Knicks

NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose participated in parts of the morning shootaround in advance of his team's game against the New York Knicks on Friday night.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose might start sitting on the bench with his teammates. Since his injury on April 28 in the first game of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose has either watched games from the locker room or a suite at the United Center.

"He could," Thibodeau said, when asked about Rose sitting on the bench. "He's still locked in to doing some rehab stuff -- that's the primary focus. Whether he sits on the bench or not, he's here with us. He's doing practices, he's in the locker room. If he can get more done in the locker room as the game's going on, he's obviously watching the game, but he also has an opportunity to do some extra stuff back there. The main focus for him is the rehab and we've prioritized that."

This is the second straight trip that Rose has traveled with the Bulls as he continues his rehab. He went to Florida last week for games against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.

"This has been the normal plan right from the start," Thibodeau said. "Again, his whole focus is on his rehab, and then when he's ready to play or when he starts fully practicing, then he'll probably be more on the bench. But as long as he can get that extra work in I'd rather have him doing that."

Rose was in good spirits as he stretched out with his teammates. He has been doing more in practice as he prepares for his return to the court, likely sometime after the All-Star break.

"I think it's better right now for him to continue doing the things he's been doing, and that's the most benefit to him," Thibodeau said, noting that traveling was the next step in Rose's rehab progression. "With our team, I want them to focus on our opponent and our improvement, and with Derrick, I want him concentrating on his rehab.

"In the past month it's been shifted more to not only the rehab but getting acclimated to the basketball stuff again. But that's also a big part of his rehab. So he's doing both, he's doing well and at some point he'll rejoin us."