DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The look on Joakim Noah's face said more than anything he was thinking about saying.
When asked Tuesday afternoon if he and his Chicago Bulls teammates were told not to say anything regarding Derrick Rose's recovery, Noah turned his head and smiled like a child who had just been caught stealing a cookie out of the jar. He didn't say anything ... but he didn't have to.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau likes the way Rose is progressing and has obviously made it a point to keep information regarding Rose's recovery at a minimum.
Thibodeau said everything was the “same” when asked about Rose after Tuesday's short workout. "Just working his way through things. He’s doing great."
While it's unclear how close Rose is to returning to games, and exactly what he did on Tuesday, it does seem as if he's getting closer. He spent nearly an hour taking jumpers at the United Center before Monday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
"I think that you guys probably haven't seen him as much as we do," Noah said. "But we see him all the time so we've seen the progression the whole time because he's been in the gym working out while we were practicing. So I know how much he's been working, really, really hard. And that's all we can ask ... when you see your star player out and working as hard as he is to try to get back it's just extra motivation (for everyone). And it also just puts things in perspective about how lucky we are to be playing. I know there's nothing more than he wants to do than to be playing."
"The Progression" sounds like a pre-cursor to "The Return."
"He looks great," Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler said. "I just like the high-spirited part of him. He wants to be around the team, he wants to get back as soon as possible. I just hope he takes it slow and comes back whenever he's ready."