The Bulls get some rare practice time this week with three days off before playing Portland on Friday at the United Center.
Derrick Rose is joining his teammates for portions of practice, but that news in itself is nothing to get excited about.
"(He's doing) all the noncontact stuff," coach Tom Thibodeau said Wednesday at the Berto Center. "He's moving along fine. He has picked it up a little bit.
"But there's still no contact. He's out for the year, but he's doing well."
Thibodeau threw in that last line as a pre-emptive strike against follow-up questions. While it's probably conceivable Rose could come back at some point in the playoffs, it's too soon for any informed speculation. He had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee on Nov. 25, so he's four months into recovery.
"Last week, he was doing parts of the noncontact," Thibodeau added. "You know, we're not practicing real long this time of the year. All the noncontact stuff he's doing."
Gibson's scoring is soaring:
Since Feb. 1, forward Taj Gibson has been the Bulls' leading scorer, averaging 15.3 points.
Gibson has been consistent on spot up jumpers from the deep corner and foul line. He probably gets more dunks than anyone on the Bulls. But he also has improved his post skills.
On Wednesday, he talked about how that improvement came about.
"He (coach Tom Thibodeau) felt like he wanted to get me the ball last year," Gibson said. "Basically, he told me, 'Go to USA (training camp),' but unfortunately I got hurt. 'Gain weight. Have a solid summer in the post. Have a solid summer just working on your game. Come into training camp and take of flying.'
"Everything he's been saying has been working out. I've just been in the gym with (assistant coach) Mike Wilhelm. We watch film, but we just really work on our footwork every day. It's all about confidence, I think. Confidence in the NBA can go a long way."
Coach Tom Thibodeau said one benefit of the three-day break is the Bulls got to work on things at practice they hadn't done in a while. Joakim Noah, meanwhile, was strongly in favor of the extra rest. "I like three-day breaks," he said with a smile. … Bulls playoff tickets for the first two rounds go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. at the United Center, bulls.com, nbatickets.com and by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.