CHICAGO -- Bulls point guard Derrick Rose missed his third straight game Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, but Chicago did get some good news on the injury front when the MRI on Jimmy Butler's injured left knee came back with no surprises.
Rose is dealing with ongoing problems with right hamstring tendinitis, and Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said before Saturday's 103-95 loss that he is "still sore."
"I actually worked Derrick out this morning and he looks better," Hoiberg said. "He looks a lot better than he did the last couple days but [he's] still having trouble exploding off that leg."
Hoiberg said that Rose, who sat out his 10th game this season, is still dealing with some "general soreness," along with the hamstring tendon issues. Hoiberg does not sound outwardly concerned about Rose's injury, but it remains unclear when Rose will be able to play again.
"A lot of it's based on feel," Hoiberg said. "He wasn't moving around great. Better than the last couple days, but he's still got a pretty good limp. We got him some conditioning and we really wanted to push him and test it so we did some full-court conditioning, a lot of shooting drills. He got through a lot of it, but again, he got pretty sore at the end and still isn't able to explode off that leg. So just not quite ready yet."
Butler suffered a knee sprain on Feb. 5 in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. It remains unclear when he will return, but Hoiberg said his recent MRI "looked good."
"The swelling is significantly down and now it's just a matter of Jimmy getting back out there, getting his timing back, getting his conditioning and getting comfortable," Hoiberg said. "He still hasn't exploded off the one leg, he's done some two-foot jumping. He's done some lateral slides, now it's about getting him out there in scrimmage-type situations and getting him ready to play."
As for a potential return date, Hoiberg said the team will "get more of an idea after he tests it."
"Once he gets out there on the floor and does some 2-on-2, 3-on-3 -- work him up to some 5-on-5. But right now I guess it's still a little too early to tell, and once he starts the scrimmage stuff we'll have a better idea."
Hoiberg said Friday that Butler was still "a ways away" from playing in a game, but Saturday's test was encouraging.
"He's chomping at the bit to get back out there," Hoiberg said. "He's excited to get back on the floor. I think today was a positive step after the results of the test. Now it's just a matter of getting him right and making sure mentally he's ready to get back out there and compete -- where he's not out there thinking and worried about the leg. Just going out and playing and reacting."