Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is back running but faces heartache in his bid to recover to play a part in a potential play-off push this season, with coach Tom Thibodeau telling ESPN.com that the former league MVP is highly unlikely to play part in the remainder of the campaign.
Rose has been sidelined since November 22 after tearing his medial meniscus and only came off crutches in January, effectively cutting his short his campaign for the second season in a row.
Bulls fans have been clinging to the hope that Rose could make a dramatic return in the playoffs after he began travelling with the team last month, but Thibodeau has poured scorn on those pleas and insisted he does not expect to see the 25-year-old back on the court this year.
He told ESPN talking about Rose's potential return: "Most likely not. But we'll see. He's out for the year, but he's doing great.
"He's running on a treadmill. Making a shot here or there, he's doing well.
"He's doing fine. He's still nowhere close to practicing or anything like that, but he's doing well overall."
The Bulls have coped well without their leader this season, sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference after winning three of their last four matches.
Without Rose the likes of Miami and the Indiana Pacers will be confident of winning any playoff series though, particularly considering last season's efforts in the post-season.