Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has revealed that Derrick Rose was finally considered strong enough to ditch his crutches this week, with the star expected to be back travelling with his team-mates by the end of the month.
Rose had a second successive season cut well short by knee surgery after suffering a torn meniscus last November, an injury which required an operation and left the Bulls without their talisman less than two months into the season.
Chicago are still expected to be without Rose for the rest of the campaign but the 25-year-old is progressing ahead of schedule, with Thibodeau providing an upbeat progress report last night.
He told USA Today: "He's doing fine, he's off the crutches. He's doing more and more, but he still has a long way to go.
"He'll probably start traveling in the next couple of weeks, but he's doing great."
It's been a long and largely unsuccessful battle against the injury jinx for Rose in the last two years, with back-to-back seasons ruined by knee problems.
Chicago want Rose to be on the road with the team during the most crucial part of his rehab, although any chance of playing during the regular or post-season remains remote to say the least.
The Bulls have coped admirably without Rose in the last two months, staying firmly in the play-off hunt with the sixth best record in the Eastern Conference.