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Rose joins Bulls for trip to Toronto

1/17/2013

TORONTO -- For the third consecutive road trip, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose traveled with his team in advance of their game against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Tuesday that Rose still hasn't been cleared for full contact practices yet, but he seems to be getting closer to a return. Thibodeau said Rose is in about the same kind of shape that he's always been in as continues his rehab from a torn ACL in his left knee.

"Derrick's one of those guys that stays in great shape year round," Thibodeau said before Wednesday morning's shootaround. "It's about where he's been in the past."

Thibodeau noted that Rose has had to do a little more weight training as he continues his rehab, something many within the organization believe will help him over the course of his career.

"He's had to put more time into that from that standpoint," Thibodeau said. "I think he's doing more core stuff, more for his lower body. I think guys sort of evolve into that the longer you're in the league, the more you understand how important that is for maintenance to be able to endure getting nicked up over the course of a season."

Butler in the dunk contest?: Luol Deng is hoping he isn't the only member of the Bulls at All-Star Weekend next month in Houston. The potential All-Star forward is hoping his teammate, Jimmy Butler, gets selected to be in the dunk contest.

"I've been telling him to," Deng said. "I don't know who he's got to talk to, but I've seen some of the stuff that he does in practice, and I really think he should be in it. I don't know who he's got to talk to but he needs to make that move."

Butler said he plans on heading to Arkansas to hang out with former teammate Ronnie Brewer but would gladly accept an invitation if invited.

"Lu thinks about that," Butler said. "I feel like me and Lu have to pull some tricks out of the bag."

Deng said he would happily be the passer for one of Butler's dunks.

"I'll come up with something," Deng said with a smile. "I can't do them but I can think about them."

The last word: Thibodeau said he had not crossed paths with new Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman, but wished him the best.

"It sounds like he has a great background ... I was just reading about him. I wish him luck and welcome to Chicago."