Derrick Rose Return Update: When Will The Chicago Bulls Star PG Be Back at Full Strength?

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November 15, 2012 9:15 AM EST

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is right on schedule rehabbing his torn anterior cruciate ligament, but his return to the court is still in question.

Now cutting on the injured left knee Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose’s rehab is moving along well.

"It's the next step for him," Tom Thibodeau said to ESPN Chicago. "Everything is going according to plan; he's not ahead of schedule, he's not behind schedule, he's exactly where he should be."

That’s good news for Chicago and for Rose, whose game is built around his speed and ability to stop on a dime. When he was taken No. 1 overall in 2008, Rose was lauded for his amazing athletic ability, and burst into the league with high-flying dunks and blistering fastbreaks. 

The 2011 Most Valuable Player sustained the injury in Chicago’s first playoff game last season and doctors said then that he could miss eight to 12 months of action. He had surgery to fix the tear in May, and vowed to return this season.

Rose’s determination aside, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf confirmed in August that the team will not rush their young star back.

"I'm not going to let him back until the doctors tell me that it's absolutely safe for him to come back," Reinsdorf said. "I made that mistake with Michael Jordan years ago where I think we let him come back too soon. It worked out OK, but it might not have.”

The best case scenario for Rose's return would be early 2013, but the Bulls have found ways to win without the star.

Chicago has plugged away for a 4-3 record this season. Forward Luol Deng is leading the team in scoring with 18.9 points per contest, and free agent signing Kirk Hinrich is tops in assist with five a game. The Bulls are also fifth in the league averaging 24 assists and have continued the excellent defense Thibodeau installed when he arrived in 2010, letting up a little over 90 points a game.

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