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Bulls’ Rose takes next step in rehab

(MCT) — CHICAGO — Derrick Rose has taken the next step in rehabilitation from his left knee surgery, beginning cutting drills.

“He’s doing great,” Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We have to be patient with it. He’s been very diligent. He’s in every day. He’s moving along. He started cutting. He’s been shooting for a while now. He feels pretty good.

“Everything is going according to plan. He’s not ahead of schedule. He’s not behind schedule. He’s exactly where he should be.”

The only timetable given for Rose came in the news conference directly following the May 12 surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament when the Bulls said the All-Star guard would miss nine to 12 months. Asked if he thinks Rose will return this season, Thibodeau reiterated his stance.

“I do,” he said.

Rose, who makes his offseason home in Santa Monica, Calif., could meet the Bulls in Los Angeles when they spend three days there beginning Thursday on their upcoming five-game trip.

“We’re going to do what we think is best both for the team and Derrick,” Thibodeau said. “I like him being in one place. For him, the rehab has to be the priority. That’s what I want him to focus in on. We’re going to be jumping around from city to city. He won’t do that.”

Rose is around his teammates constantly and often visible to reporters but off-limits for interviews.

“We see how hard he’s working,” Thibodeau said. “But we can’t use that as a crutch. You can’t replace a guy like Derrick individually. Your only chance is collectively. So we need everybody else to focus on knowing their job and doing their job.”

Celtics coach Doc Rivers stopped Derrick’s older brother, Reggie, in the hallway as he made his way to the court and asked how Derrick is doing.

Captain Kirk: Kirk Hinrich sat out with what the team is calling a strained right hip but what Hinrich told the Tribune is in his hamstring and gluteus area. An MRI exam confirmed the strain, and there is concern the veteran point guard will miss games on the five-game trip beginning Wednesday in Phoenix.

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