Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose looks on from the bench against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago

Derrick Rose travels with Bulls for first time this season


The timetable for Derrick Rose to return to the Bulls hasn’t changed. But his rehabilitation is progressing as expected, which is certainly encouraging.

Rose has been practicing with the team, though not fully just yet.

He still can’t take full contact at this stage, yet the fact that he’s a regular fixture now with the team is a positive sign he’s on track.

Another sign is the fact that Rose traveled with the Bulls for the team’s two-game road trip to Orlando and Miami.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

The symbolic nature of Rose’s progress from left knee surgery couldn’t be ignored on the first day of 2013. Particularly since the youngest most valuable player in league history joined his teammates for the charter flight to Orlando, his first trip this season.

“He’s doing more of practice, but he still can’t take full contact,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “There are several steps he has to go through. This is all part of the plan of bringing him back. But everybody has to be patient.”

Rose’s travel does little to change the timeline most team observers have speculated all along for his return — late February to early March.

The Bulls have managed to maintain with Rose out on the strength of their defense (latest loss to the Bobcats this week aside), and currently sit at fifth in the Eastern Conference standings.

While the timeline for Rose to return remains unchanged, remember that we’ve already had two players this season come back earlier than expected, and essentially do so as a complete surprise: Kevin Love and Dirk Nowitzki.

There are no guarantees of course that Rose will do the same, and the Bulls are in no rush to force him back. But his increased involvement with the team is exciting, if only to remind us that we’re getting that much closer to seeing him back in action.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.