Coach Tom Thibodeau's reaction to the latest Derrick Rose story was to repeat most of the same phrases he's been using for months.
"He's put a lot of work in," Thibodeau said before Friday's game. "No one wants to play more than he does, and we have to trust him. I trust Derrick implicitly. When he's ready, he'll let us know and we'll go from there."
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The report, from ESPN Chicago, suggested Rose has been medically cleared to return to game action, but doesn't feel ready and isn't yet comfortable dunking off his left foot.
Rose has been practicing full speed for more than a month and it was reported during the TNT broadcast on Feb. 28 that Rose still is not comfortable going to his left.
"It's nothing new," Thibodeau said. "He's doing everything there is to do in practice. He's been cleared from that standpoint."
The news everyone has been waiting for is when Rose will play in a game. That part remains a mystery.
Before Friday's game, Rose shot around on the west basket -- which is unusual. The Bulls usually use the other one. He was seen practicing some very high-arching runners and long 3-pointers.
Thibodeau often says a number of people need to sign off on Rose's return. Clearly, though, it's up to Rose to decide when he's ready. That could realistically happen any day.
The Bulls will leave Saturday for a three-game trip to California while the Big Ten tournament fills the United Center.
Bulls still short-handed:
There was no change in the Bulls' injury report Friday. Kirk Hinrich (sore right foot), Taj Gibson (sprained left knee) and Richard Hamilton (sore lower back) remain on the shelf.
Coach Tom Thibodeau called Hinrich and Gibson day-to-day, while he said Hamilton might not make the road trip.
For Utah, center Al Jefferson returned after three games off with a left ankle sprain. Guard Mo Williams started his second game after missing the previous 32 with a thumb injury.
Corbin likes Demons' move:
Before Friday's game, Utah coach Tyrone Corbin weighed in on DePaul's decision to leave the Big East and help form a new conference. Corbin played at the school in the mid-1980s.
"We lobbied to get in a conference when I was there," he said. "I was an independent, so I'm glad they're in a conference. I think it's better for the kids. It's better for the school. So whatever they do, I'm just excited for them to be in a conference. Creating an all-Catholic conference, or whatever they're trying to do, I think will be good. It will be good for morale."