DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau revealed in his end-of-season meeting with reporters Wednesday that Derrick Rose has started taking contact in practice as he continues his rehab from a torn meniscus in his left knee suffered on Nov. 22.
"[It was] good," Thibodeau said. "He's right on schedule. So this is the next phase now. The rehab part went well. The non-contact stuff went well. So now this is the next step, which is good."
Thibodeau said again he has no doubt that Rose will return to his old form.
"The thing is, he's had two unfortunate injuries," Thibodeau said. "I think he's put a lot of work into his body. So we're optimistic that he's going to make a complete and full recovery. Hopefully he'll have an opportunity to play some this summer with USA Basketball and then we'll go from there."
The Bulls are optimistic that Rose will be able to participate in Team USA's training camp this summer in advance of the World Cup of Basketball in Spain. Thibodeau is an assistant coach on Team USA's staff.
"He's going to be here more this summer, which is going to be good," Thibodeau said. "So we'll have him doing more work with our team here and then we'll see where he is in July, in terms of we'll probably have more guys in, in preparation for summer league. It will be a good setup for him to go into the USA practices, which begin right after the NBA summer league."
Bulls general manager Gar Forman also expressed optimism regarding Rose's situation.
"He's really in a good place right now," Forman said. "And he continues to train; you probably saw he's starting to play one-on-one, two-on-two. He was in here this morning working out. So he'll continue to ramp it up, and if everything goes according to plan, which up to this point it has, we're optimistic that he'll play with Team USA this summer and have another good summer of work and be ready to go in October."
Thibodeau, like everyone else within the organization, knows how important it will be to have Rose back on the floor and playing.
"I thought the growth of both [Joakim Noah] and [Taj Gibson] was huge for our team," he said. "But I'm looking forward to having Derrick back also. Obviously, that makes your team a lot different. I think we're positioned well."