Derrick Rose Return Update: Practicing With Teammates As Chicago Bulls Mend And Prepare For Next Season

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First Posted: Jul 02, 2013 08:58 AM EDT

(Photo : REUTERS/Jim Young) Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose takes a break on the bench during the warm up before the team's NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers. Rose who has been sidelined with a severe knee injury since the 2011-2012 NBA Playoffs has been practicing with his team during the off-season.

The Chicago Bulls, looking to improve on last year's playoff success, are working out together as they heal up in preparation for the next season.

Riddled with injury after injury, the Bulls battled the Brooklyn Nets to seven games in the opening round of the 2012-2013 playoffs only to eventually fall to the Miami Heat Eastern Conference Semifinals in five games.

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Derrick Rose, who got hurt during the 2011-12 NBA Playoffs, has been rehabbing his knee and practicing with teammates - Jokim Noah, Luol Deng, and Kirk Heinrich - at the Berto Center, working as a unit once again.

"Really everything has been positive," said Chicago GM Gar Forman. "Joakim (plantar fasciitis) is feeling a lot better, Derrick (left knee) continues to - you know he's in here, he's working every day - continues to feel good and making progress. Luol (complications from a spinal tap) is feeling better, and Kirk (calf) has been in here pretty much every day working out, so I think we're headed in the right direction there.'"

The Bulls are looking to stand pat with their roster, especially considering they only have the luxury-taxpayer's midlevel exception ($3.2 million) to offer free agents, due to their salary cap restraints. Though the team would love to keep last year's team intact, they realize that it will be difficult to re-sign Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli.

"Obviously there's some players from our roster last year who are free agents that we'd like to talk about bringing back," Forman said. "But we were in the tax last year, we're going to be in the tax even deeper this coming year so that takes away some of the flexibility. With that said, we really like our roster and the biggest key to our roster is getting healthy so that's the goal."

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau feels confident they have the pieces in place to make a deep run into the playoffs.

"I think with Derrick being back we're going to be a deep team," said Thibodeau to radio station ESPN 1000. "I think our bench will be fortified. Jimmy [Butler] has already been in, he started a couple weeks after the season ended. Kirk has been in quite a bit, Taj [Gibson] has been in already, so we have a lot of guys moving in the right direction. Everyone's anxious about next season."

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