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Derrick Rose no longer using crutches

Jan 13, 2014, 5:23 PM EDT

Derrick Rose

When Derrick Rose last spoke with reporters, he was calling his doubters fools and refusing to declare himself out for the playoffs if the Chicago Bulls made them. He was resilient and relatively upbeat given the situation.

But he also walked to and from that Dec. 5 news conference with crutches, as seen on the right.

Rose’s rehab has been quiet since, but there he’s made one breakthrough.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Derrick Rose‘s rehabilitation from surgery to repair his torn right meniscus is progressing, and coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose no longer is using crutches.

“He’s coming along fine,” Thibodeau said. “He’s doing more and more, but he still has a long way to go.”

At first this seems like great news – and it is for anyone who enjoys watching Rose play – but it’s also a reality check. There’s a huge gap between walking without crutches and playing in the NBA.

If Chicago – which holds the Eastern Conference’s fifth-best record and a 3.5-game cushion for playoff positioning – makes the postseason, I just can’t see Rose playing. Maybe that makes me a fool.

The next step, according to Johnson, is Rose travelling with the team, because the Bulls want Rose around his teammates during his rehabilitation. After back-to-back season-ruining injuries for Rose, that’s probably best. He can’t be filled with happy thoughts when they’re on the road without him.

But simply travelling, like losing crutches, is just another reminder how far Rose is from playing.

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