No contact for Rose, but he finds ways to help

BOSTON -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose still isn't taking contact in practice as he recovers from a torn meniscus in his right knee, but that doesn't mean he isn't having an impact. As the regular season winds down, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau knows that while Rose won't see any game action, he will help when he can.

"We'll find a way to utilize him," Thibodeau said. "Right now he's working more with the second unit so that's basically how we're using him, but he's done a great job with his leadership and he wants to help in any way that he can. So it's all a plus, he's coming along, he's going to be fine, so we're encouraged by his progress. But right now we're concentrating on what we have to do the rest of the way."

Thibodeau isn't sure when he and his team will have time to have many contact practices down the stretch, but he isn't going to just push Rose aside in practice as the rest of his team gets set for the playoffs. The Bulls have made it clear that Rose won't play again this season, but they appreciate the way he has approached his rehab.

"You definitely learn from your experiences," Bulls center Joakim Noah said of Rose. "And he's dealt with a lot of adversity with his injuries. He's just grown. I think it's making him stronger as a person and as a player."

Thibodeau echoed those sentiments. He believes that all the issues Rose had to deal with last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee in April 2012, made him better equipped to handle his latest injury.

"A lot," Thibodeau said. "And when he gets past this he'll be even stronger mentally. To overcome these things and to rise above adversity like he has, it will only make him stronger going forward. So we're looking forward to when he is back. But right now the only thing he can do is concentrate on his rehab, be a great teammate, support his teammates, and he's done all that."

The Bulls continue to be happy just to see Rose around the team. They know how tough last season was for him and they're trying to give him encouragement when they can.

"He's definitely been through the process before," Noah said. "Injuries is the hardest thing we have to go through as players. For him to go through it two years in a row -- that's as tough as it gets. But he's patient with the process and he's trying to stay as positive as possible. And I respect his work ethic because it's not easy. It must not be easy."