Bulls News: Derrick Rose's Return to Practice a Timely Morale Boost for Chicago

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Bulls News: Derrick Rose's Return to Practice a Timely Morale Boost for Chicago
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Derrick Rose isn't drawing and-ones in the paint or taking charges just yet, but his return to Chicago Bulls practice provides a timely morale boost for the Eastern Conference contender.

This according to CSNChicago.com's Aggrey Sam on Sunday:

...CSNChicago.com has learned that over the last two days, minus the contact portions, the former league MVP has been a full participant in the team’s practices at the Berto Center.

As far as Rose's eventual return is concerned, Sam had this to offer:

While there is no set timetable for Rose to resume playing, according to multiple sources, the 24-year-old point guard will be back on the court sometime after the NBA All-Star break.

Seeing their MVP point guard during practice, and knowing that contact practice is up next will surely inspire the Bulls to play their best basketball in the remaining time they are without Rose. Chicago is currently the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and is just four games back of East-leading Miami.

Although the Bulls have won 10 of their past 15 games overall following a shaky 6-7 start to the year, they've dropped two of their past three, including blowout defeats to Atlanta and Houston last week. 

That's why Rose's return to team practice comes at such a key time for Tom Thibodeau's men.

Chicago has already proven it can win without Rose, so now all that's left to do is keep the ship afloat until the franchise savior can return to the starting five. Rose's return doesn't mean he'll be back soon, but it means he's getting closer. 

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Even without Rose, the Bulls are the third-best defensive squad in basketball, ranking third in scoring defense, allowing just 91.5 points per game. They ranked first a season ago, allowing just 88.2 points per game, but clearly they continue to excel on that end of the floor under Thibodeau.

Offensively though, Rose's absence has been felt without question. Chicago is averaging just 92.7 points per game (27th in the league) in 2012-13 compared to 96.3 points per game (18th in the league) in 2011-12.

Rose can't change any of those statistics during practice, but he can be a motivating factor for the team as it prepares for the final two-thirds of the regular season. As the season wears on, the Bulls will have a huge X-factor on their side, the knowledge that they are one of the NBA's elite championship caliber teams when their star point guard is healthy. 

We may be months away from Derrick Rose's return to the NBA hardwood, but for now, the Chicago Bulls will have to settle for his presence at practice and the promise of a potential spring return.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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