Tom Thibodeau says Derrick Rose might be ahead of schedule

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When the Bulls said they expected an injured Derrick Rose back in four to six weeks, the point guard declared: “Who cares?

Maybe that was a positive sign.

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

Tom Thibodeau’s slight, slight grin belied the way he likely felt inside when he saw Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler fully participate in Tuesday’s practice at the Advocate Center for the first time in quite a while.

Even Derrick Rose (right knee), entering week three of the 4-6 week timetable laid out by Bulls doctors and management, lightly participated, going through non-contact activities.

“It’s the next phase of his rehab,” said Thibodeau, while adding Rose could be slightly ahead of the rehab schedule. “He still has to obviously strengthen the knee. But it was good. He did a lot of non-contact stuff. It’s a good step for him.”

Chicago has fallen to fourth in the Eastern Conference. Not only do Rose, Butler and Gibson remain out, Joakim Noah is on a minutes limit.

The sooner the Bulls get their top players back, the better chance they have of securing home-court advantage for a round or two.

More importantly, if Chicago is going to make major noise in the playoffs, it’ll take a healthy roster. That’s still a long way off, but the signs at least appear positive.