Derrick Rose was back practicing with the Chicago Bulls last winter halfway through his 17-month rehab layoff following knee surgery. So the team’s morning session on two-a-day Saturday was a little blurred as a milestone.

What the media folks saw when the gym door opened at the tail end of practice this time well the whole NBA world saw before most of the Bulls’ games over the second half of last season: Rose in workout clothes working on his shooting range and his free throws. No drama there either.

But for a couple hours in the Bulls’ initial practice of training camp there were some differences – some subtle others obvious – from what last spring mostly was shadow-boxing for Rose and his teammates.
The All-Star guard whose May 2012 ACL surgery unexpectedly wiped out his entire 2012-13 season stuck around for the 5-on-5 scrimmaging Saturday. Neither he nor the other players shied away from contact. He read reacted misfired in his timing and even made mistakes – but his instincts were triggering and he wasn’t overthinking.

“There were some hard fouls” Rose said. “You got to get used to it. I didn’t think nothing of it. Just got up and shot the free throws.

“I was able to do a little bit more [than last season]. I was attacking a lot getting to the line. … It’s just the way I play. I came in this league a driver I’m going to continue to drive.”

Said Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau: “I’d say he doesn’t have to pace himself like he did. … The driving and finishing looked a lot better. And his timing’s still not there but it’s a good start.