C.J. Watson cleared to play

Updated: February 28, 2012, 8:06 AM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls guard C.J. Watson practiced Monday for the first time since Feb. 18, when he banged his head in a collision with the New Jersey Nets' Kris Humphries and suffered concussion symptoms. He's been cleared to play against the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday.

Richard Hamilton also practiced and will be a game-time decision after missing the last 13 games with groin and thigh injuries.

"(Hamilton is) good," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He had a good practice today. We'll see how he is.

"We're not going to rush it. Right before the break he had a couple good practices. He had a good practice today. But we want to make sure. We're going to be patient."

Derrick Rose was impressed.

"Rip looked good," he said. "He was running through the plays, knocking down shots. His conditioning is good. That's the biggest thing that I was concerned about.

"He opens the game up for us. We just can't wait to get him out there and see what he (can) do."

As far as his back, Rose said he no longer has pain. Spasms kept him out of five games recently.

"I don't have any pain -- nowhere," he said. "Where I feel good, been working out pretty good, just getting my rhythm back. And hopefully (Tuesday) come back and it will be a good game.

"I'm not worried about it anymore. Just trying to move on from it."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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