Rose, who has a good relationship with reporters, hasn't talked much since the team's training camp media day, but reporters continue to catch glimpses of Rose doing his rehab post-knee surgery and taking jump shots.
After shootaround ended Monday and the court was cleared of players, Rose worked out in the corner of the Berto Center gym, with strength and conditioning coach Erik Helland supervising. Rose ran back and forth in controlled bursts for nearly a half-hour before leaving the practice floor.
"We want him to stay focused on what he needs to do and stay on the process, step by step, which he's done," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. "He's done a great job on his rehab and been really focused on what he needs to do."
Behind closed doors, Rose is participating in limited practice, going through "the dummy offense, close-out drills" and yes, "flying down the floor," Bulls guard Jimmy Butler said. He's also still acting as the team leader, including giving advice at halftime. Butler was optimistic that Rose will be back and ready to play this season.
"It's the spirited Derrick you see more, because he's so excited to be back out there with us," Butler said. "To be able to put on that practice jersey and just grind it out with us. You're seeing him smiling and you're seeing the stuff Derrick does, the floaters, the jumpers. You're just like, 'Damn, he's back.' Right where he left off, if not even better."
Forman said he doesn't worry watching Rose practice, because the process to get him this far has been so methodical.
"Every step in the process, we've been careful," Forman said. "We've tried not to skip steps. Once he's accomplished what we want him to accomplish, we go on to the next step."
So what is the next step? And most importantly, when will Rose return?
"When the time comes," Forman said. "We've tried not to look ahead and stay in the moment. ... That's what's best for him, and Tom [Thibodeau] does a great job with our team not looking ahead. We take it day by day, practice by practice, game by game."