Derrick Rose travels with Bulls

Updated: January 3, 2013, 6:08 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose joined his teammates for Wednesday's shootaround, marking the first time he's traveled with his team and participated in a workout on the road since tearing his ACL on April 28.

"It's good," said coach Tom Thibodeau before Wednesday's 96-94 win over the Magic. "He's been around the whole time. You guys don't see him as much as everyone else does, the team does, I should say. So I don't think it's that big of a deal. It's the next step in the progression for him. He's getting up to speed with everything offensively, defensively, his teammates.

"It's just the next step, and he's got to continue the things that he's been doing and the team has to continue to focus on our improvement and our opponent, and then at some point he'll be ready to go. But he still has some time to go. Everyone has to be patient, but it's good to have him around."

Rose, who has been doing all the noncontact drills in practice for the past few weeks, is still likely a month or two away from seeing the floor. The Bulls have not wanted to place a target date on Rose's rehab, and Thibodeau reiterated that stance on Wednesday. When asked about a possible return around the All-Star break, Thibodeau was noncommittal.

"It's when he's ready," Thibodeau said. "So that's not anything that has changed from the start of the season. It's when he's ready. It's not going to be sooner, later, 'This is the target date.' It's just when he's ready. So he's doing practice, the predictable contact in practice. The next step will be regular practice. Then he has to be able to go through regular practice for a while. And then, if everything goes well, then he plays.

"But there's no time schedule, so it's everything according to plan. It's just the next step. There's several steps he has to go through. There's several more that he has to go through -- so everything's going well. Nothing has changed."

Aside from a promotional campaign by adidas, Rose has tried to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. He walked into the Amway Center wearing headphones Wednesday and said hello to reporters.

Thibodeau doesn't believe Rose's presence on the road will give his team, coming off a disappointing loss to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats at home on Monday, much of an emotional lift.

"The thing is, he's already been in practice and they see him doing his rehab, so that part is ... it is what it is," Thibodeau said. "He's not out on the court, and that will be eventually what we have to do. He'll be part of the group. But right now everything's good. Our team has to keep working, just focus on the improvement. Derrick has to continue to focus on what he has to focus on, and at some point, he'll rejoin the group."

Rose also will travel with the Bulls to Miami for their game against the Heat on Friday night.

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.

ALSO SEE