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Bulls' Derrick Rose getting closer to being cleared for contact?

When will Derrick Rose be cleared for contact following his right knee surgery?

The shots kept coming.

Five made corner 3-pointers, followed by five made wing 3-pointers, followed by five made 3-pointers from the top of the key and then the same routine on the other side of the court and back again.

Whenever Derrick Rose moved to the free-throw line, often a sign a shooting routine is ending, he instead followed with floaters from the baseline and then more of the same 3-point shooting drill.

This is a big week for Rose, who played out the above routine for an hour before Saturday's dismal loss at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Friday will mark four weeks since a torn portion of his right meniscus was removed via an arthroscopic procedure by team physician Brian Cole.

In the direct aftermath of the surgery, a procedure that took roughly 15 minutes, the Bulls said Rose's timeline to return would be four-to-six weeks. Given that Rose is enduring his third rehabilitation following knee surgery in 34 months, a conservative approach to that timeline wouldn't surprise.

But coach Tom Thibodeau said "it appears that (Rose is) pretty close" to being cleared for contact.

"It's just step-by-step," Thibodeau said. "The first week is just range of motion, strengthening the knee. And then you progress from there. He's doing just about everything now except the contact."

This is similar to the path traveled by Doug McDermott, who underwent an arthroscopic procedure to remove a small meniscus tear in his right knee performed by Cole on Dec. 13. While no two injuries or rehabs are exactly the same and McDermott certainly doesn't have the history Rose does, the rookie landed on the active roster five weeks and two days later.

"A week after, I was spot shooting. From there, they're pretty cautious about the steps, but after two weeks, I was lifting and doing some quad exercises to strengthen the quad," McDermott said. "At the three-week mark, I started doing underwater work and the anti-gravity treadmill. At four weeks, I did light jogging and they eased me back into getting in shape with basketball activities.

"The incisions where they go in, that kind of bothers you for a little bit because it's tight. Your knee feels stiff for a little bit. But I'm to the point where I don't even notice it."

McDermott had never missed a practice or game in high school or college. A back injury sidelined him one summer for a month while at Creighton.

"I think the knee rehab was a little easier for me because I never had a knee issue before," he said. "I'm feeling really good. I've talked to guys who have had it in the past. Kyle (Korver) told me the knee he got his work done on feels better than his other one. So that's a good sign."

So would Rose getting cleared for contact.

kcjohnson@tribpub.com

Twitter @kcjhoop

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