Derrick Rose is out for the season.

The Bulls have made that clear and never have wavered from that position since Nov. 25, the day his torn right medial meniscus was repaired surgically. Rose suffered the injury in Portland, Ore., on Nov. 22.

But all along, the Bulls and Rose expressed hope he could return to the practice court before season’s end. And coach Tom Thibodeau said after Wednesday’s practice at the Berto Center that Rose has begun participating in non-contact drills.

This always has been part of the plan.

“He’s moving along fine,” Thibodeau said. “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.”

Teams almost never scrimmage at this point of the season. And there has been zero talk internally of Rose doing anything more than practicing. And even that participation could be limited to non-contact portions for the remainder of this season.

“Last week, he was doing parts of the non-contact (drills),” Thibodeau said. “You know, we’re not practicing real long this time of the year. (Now) all the non-contact stuff he’s doing.”

Given that Rose has played in just 50 NBA games over the last three seasons, any court time with teammates is a positive.

“He’s upbeat, in a real good place mentally,” Taj Gibson said.

Rose remains on target to participate in the July minicamp for USA Basketball, from which the World Cup roster will be selected. That squad will play in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain in September.

As the Bulls disclosed in November, Rose’s operation featured surgeons reattaching the torn meniscus. While that’s better for Rose’s long-term career and limits the chances of arthritis developing, it calls for a lengthier rehabilitation process of up to six months or more.