Rose enjoys himself in shootaround

NEW YORK -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose shot around with his teammates before Friday night's game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden and appears to be inching closer to a return. The former MVP looks to be in good spirits as he continues his rehab from a torn ACL in his left knee. He spent time before the game shooting jumpers and chatting with current and former teammates.

"He's done his work," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "So it's a well mapped-out plan. He's goes step by step and when he handles one step well and he's comfortable he gets moved onto the next one. He's not the first guy that's had this injury and I think when you look at the number of guys that have gotten the injury and what they're doing after the injury I think it tells you a lot about where medicine is today and where the rehab for this type of injury is."

Thibodeau acknowledged there's a chance Rose may start taking more contact in practice over the next week. Up to this point, Rose hasn't been cleared for full contact practices, only taking 'predictable contact' in practice.

"We'll sort of evaluate it every week," Thibodeau said. "He's getting closer because he's taking on some contact but it's a step-by-step process. He's doing well, but everyone has to be patient."

Thibodeau is clearly happy with the way Rose is coming along, though. This is the second straight trip Rose has accompanied his teammates on. He was in Florida last week when the Bulls knocked off the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat.

"It's a long process," Thibodeau said. "So he's still got a ways to go. He hasn't gone through a full practice yet and he's got to do that for an extended amount of time, but he's doing extremely well. He's approached it great and you couldn't ask for anything more. And our team has done a great job with their approach and that's the way we want to keep it right now."

The veteran coach does not believe that the rehab process is wearing on Rose.

"Not at all," he said. "You guys know him. There's high maintenance, low maintenance and no maintenance and that's Derrick. That's who he is. He's just a great team player, a great teammate. He's mentally strong, he's got a great will and so he understands what he has to go through and he's done a great job with it."