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Derrick Rose is back with his teammates, but still unclear on a return to the court

There were a couple of shots fired up, a few laughs with teammates, and just like that the Advocate Center had a key missing piece back in attendance Monday afternoon.

When will Derrick Rose be back in a Bulls uniform, or for that matter, just back to practice?

Fred Hoiberg was still at the mercy of a vague timetable after Sept. 30 surgery to fix an orbital fracture for Rose, but the hope for the first-year coach was still sooner than later.

“Derrick’s in the building,’’ Hoiberg said after the morning shootaround. “It was great to see him. We’ll get with him and watch some individual film after practice. He still isn’t able to do anything as far as court work. Hopefully, he’ll get clearance in the next couple days to at least get a sweat going and getting a little bit of running.’’

The original timetable for Rose to once again begin basketball activity was two weeks after the surgery, which means with a game Wednesday, Rose could be eligible to start working out on Thursday.

“I hope so,’’ Hoiberg said of that scenario. “He’s gotta get a checkup. He still has some blurred vision in that eye. It’s still very swollen. But he’s definitely making progress from when I saw him a week ago.’’

The other unanswered question concerning Rose will be how long he will play with a mask on? Again, Hoiberg was at the mercy of Rose’s healing ability and comfort level.

“As long as that bone gets healed and for him it will probably be a comfort thing,’’ Hoiberg said of Rose playing with a protective mask. “If he likes it, he may want to keep it on for protection. But as long as that bone is healed, I’m sure that will be a decision the doctors and trainers make.’’

Hoiberg did want to see Rose stay for the Monday night preseason game against New Orleans, whether it was sitting on the bench or back in the locker room, but that was also to be determined.

“It will help to get him out here running,’’ Hoiberg said of Rose playing catch-up. “Different guys learn different ways. I think it’s very important once we get him back to show him and be able to run it first-hand to get the timing right. But he’s able to pick it up quick. It’s a lot of the same things we were doing, just adding on different wrinkles and different options.

“From Derrick’s standpoint, the biggest thing is just getting out of the house. He was getting such cabin fever. The opportunity for him to get back in here is very important.’’