Thibs: Rose has best practice to date

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose celebrated his 26th birthday Saturday by having his best practice of the young season, according to Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

After giving his team the day off Friday to rest, Thibodeau was pleased with how the former MVP performed during a three-hour practice session.

"I think for Derrick today was probably his best day thus far," Thibodeau said. "There was a lot of 5-on-5 and stuff like that. We scrimmaged a little bit more so I think that was good for him. We played one-on-one type stuff. It was good and he's got to get used to that again. That's why you could run on a treadmill, you could run on a track, you can do all that stuff, but that's not going to prepare you for what you're going to be doing in an NBA game."

Thibodeau wants his star point guard to continue getting used to the contact that comes with playing night after night in the NBA. He can see that the rust on Rose's game is slowly starting to shake off after playing just 10 games in the last two years because of two serious knee injuries.

"He'll be able to handle it, he's just got to get used to it again," Thibodeau said of the contact. "That's why the USA Basketball stuff was so important for him -- to get used to having contact. The more he does it the better it is for him, the more you're starting to see the rust come off. Now you're starting to see him make some of the plays that he's capable of making, and he's starting to get a little bit of a rhythm. He's starting to shoot the ball better which we anticipated. But that's why that was important for him. That's why him practicing and him practicing hard is so important for him."

It's also important for Rose's teammates to see him practicing at a high level. Every time the rest of the Bulls see Rose on the floor it's a boost to their collective psyche, given all the ups and downs of the past two seasons.

"Really good," Joakim Noah said of how Rose is performing. "Finishing well, making his shots, being very vocal, running the team. (We) just need Derrick to be aggressive. I just like the way everything's looking. We just got to keep grinding."

Thibodeau is hoping Rose continues getting used to being hit on every play again. As he's said throughout the preseason, Rose has to play in order to shake off the rust, in order to get back into a rhythm.

"In the NBA, you get into a pick-and-roll there's going to be a guy on your body," Thibodeau said. "And the challenge is you're trying to create separation to get away from people. But when you're a player like him he's also going to be trapped a lot. When someone's on you all the time, which someone will be on him all the time, you got to get used to that. It's different. The physicality of NBA basketball is a lot different than college or international or any of that stuff. So that's what Derrick has to get used to, that part of the game."

Nerves ease for McDermott: Bulls rookie Doug McDermott admitted after Tuesday's first practice that he set three alarms on Monday night because he didn't want to be late. Now that he's a few days into training camp, the Creighton alum says those nerves have started to subside.

"I feel good now," McDermott said. "Those first couple practices, you're a new player, a new system -- things are going 1000 miles an hour. You just feel kind of dumb running around out there. Now I feel like I have a much better grip on everything. I still got a lot to learn, but I feel like I definitely have a better feel."

Getting used to the brace: Noah said he will likely have to wear his knee brace all season after having arthroscopic left knee surgery in May.

The last word: Noah, on the rookies singing "Happy Birthday" to Rose...

"I was disappointed a little bit in the rookies. Not a lot of passion. Head down while they were singing. I was looking for some eye contact, but they'll figure it out."