Report: Derrick Rose cleared to play extended minutes

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Since the start of the season, Derrick Rose has been the subject of much scrutiny. He’s missed two full seasons with serious knee injuries, and his health is crucial in the Bulls’ chances at contending for a championship. Now, it seems he’s taken an important step: where he was previously limited by the training staff to playing 30 minutes per game, he’s now allowed to play longer.

From the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson:

The Bulls have cleared Derrick Rose to play extended minutes if needed, sources said.

Initially, the Bulls’ medical staff limited Rose because he was returning from back-to-back, season-ending knee surgeries and he had played just 10 NBA games in the last two seasons. But Rose has started to string games together. And while it’s unlikely his average minutes per game will increase significantly, coach Tom Thibodeau has been given the green light to play Rose more.

Rose has averaged 32.8 minutes per game in January, an encouraging sign considering what he’s been through. His play has been up and down — he’s had nights where he’s looked like the player that won the league’s MVP award in 2011, but more often than not he has a propensity to jack up terrible three-pointers.

But the reality is, the Bulls can’t win a title without Rose at full strength. And the fact that he’s been cleared to play without restricted minutes is a positive step in reaching that goal.