Derrick Rose is still not suiting up for the Chicago Bulls, but he's taken another step toward his return in everyone's eyes thanks to a comment from Tom Thibodeau (ESPN.com) prior to their Wednesday night game against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Bulls coach was very straightforward, doing his best to avoid the cryptic interviews that have surrounded Rose's situation all year long.
It's day-to-day. Day-to-day. So whenever he's ready, he's ready. We just want him to continue to improve, focus on his rehab, and then when he's ready to go we'll all know. Everyone has to remain patient.
There you have it—Rose is ready to go whenever he feels comfortable, and the Bulls are in a situation where they're behind him 100 percent.
Of course, always one to keep the trail cold, Thibodeau reiterated that this doesn't mean Rose is coming back tomorrow, or that he's got a set timetable for a return.
Whenever he's ready, he's ready. Nothing has changed for us. For our team, I want them to continue to concentrate on improvement and our opponent. And for Derrick I want him to continue to concentrate on his rehab.
We're 60 games into this now, so I think going into the season we had a lot of question marks. I think we have more answers now. We figured out, I think, who we are. We're headed down the stretch, we've got to continue to improve and then we'll go from there.
This is especially big news after we all watched as Rose sat on the bench of a Bulls game for the first time this season against the Indiana Pacers Sunday night.
While it may seem like a meaningless occurrence, Rose has basically spent the entire season watching games from the locker room, rather than remain a distraction on the sidelines.
One thing that the news seems to do more than anything else is tell us that the Bulls will not be shutting Rose down for the season.
We'll have to wait to figure out when he'll make his debut, what his limitations will be, and what kind of role he'll play, but it seems evident that Chicago is planning to put Rose on the floor some time during the 2012-13 season..