Thibodeau says Rose 'not quite' ready to play

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm •  Published: March 8, 2013
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DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Injured Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose is "not quite" ready to return from his knee injury, coach Tom Thibodeau said Friday.

The 2011 NBA MVP continues to practice without restrictions, but his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee remains up in the air.

"He's been cleared to do everything there is," Thibodeau said before the Bulls hosted the Utah Jazz at the United Center. "Before he makes the final step, everyone has to get together and sign off. That hasn't happened yet. The most important part of this is that we have to trust Derrick, and I trust him."

ESPNChicago.com reported Friday that Rose's doctor has cleared him to play, but he has told the team he won't until he can dunk with confidence off his left foot. Thibodeau said a decision "hasn't been finalized yet."

Thibdodeau was noncommittal when asked if he expects Rose to play this season, saying the Bulls are prepared either way.

"I just want him to do what he has been doing, which is put everything you have into each day," he said. "He's practiced well. He's got to keep doing it, and when he goes, he goes. We can't wait on him. We have to find ways to win now. Hopefully, at some point, he'll be ready to go. He's put a lot of work in. No one wants to play more than he does. We have to trust him."

Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last year's playoff-opener against Philadelphia, sending the top-seeded Bulls toward a first-round exit, and his recovery has been an ongoing soap opera, particularly in recent weeks.

He first said in an interview with USA Today in February that he was "far away, far away" from being ready, then told a group of reporters that he won't rush back just to play this season if he isn't ready.