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NBA notebook — March 8

Associated Press Injured Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose is “not quite” ready to return from his knee injury, coach Tom Thibodeau said Friday. The former MVP point guard continues to practice without restrictions, but his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee remains up in the air. “We’ll see when he’s ready,” Thibodeau said. “He’s getting there. He’s not quite there yet.” ESPNChicago.com reported Friday that Rose’s doctor has cleared him to play, but he has told the team he won’t until he can dunk with confidence off his left foot. Thibodeau said a decision “hasn’t been finalized yet.” Asked if Rose would be allowed to play if he felt he was able, Thibdodeau said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. We’re just going day by day.” He was also noncommittal when asked if he expects Rose to play this season, saying the Bulls are prepared either way. “Definitely getting stronger and stronger every day,” guard Nate Robinson said. “Hopefully, he’s right on time and right on schedule. He’ll be back when he’s ready.” Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last year’s playoff-opener against Philadelphia, sending the top-seeded Bulls toward a first-round exit, and his recovery has been an ongoing soap opera, particularly in recent weeks. He first said in an interview with USA Today in February that he was “far away, far away” from being ready, then told a group of reporters that he won’t rush back just to play this season if he isn’t ready. Rose began participating in five-on-five drills in practice and sitting on the bench during games. But his reputation took a hit when his older brother Reggie ripped the Bulls in an interview with ESPNChicago.com, saying the team’s decision to stand pat at the trade deadline could be a “big factor” in whether Derrick returns this season.

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