The Chicago Bulls’ 2012 title hopes flew out the window when superstar guard Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL against the eighth-seeded 76ers. In fact, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and the rest of the squad never even made it out of that first-round match-up with Philly.
Now, with only six games remaining in the 2013 regular season, Noah, Deng and Co. have led the Bulls back to the playoffs. Rose, however, has had nothing to do with it on the actual court. Despite being cleared to play, he does not yet feel comfortable on his surgically repaired knee.
Does that mean he has ruled out playing at all this season?
“Oh no,” Rose said Sunday before the Chicago Bulls’ shootaround. “I’m keeping it open.”
So, he’s not not shutting it down for the year. Great news for Bulls fans, right?
Not exactly. Just because Rose would play this season does not mean he is going to. In fact, right after he told reporters that he is keeping it open, he said that he is trying not to think about it at all.
“I’m not trying to think about that right now,” Rose said. “I’m just trying to get better. I’m just trying to help my teammates, give them confidence to go out there and play hard, and just be a great teammate.
“I’ll play whenever I’m ready to play. Who knows when I’m ready to? Right now, all I can do is just cheer on my teammates.”
When asked, Rose said it was not a matter of playing starter’s minutes right away. Some have speculated that Rose would not come back until he could play 30 or 40 minutes a game without any issues. However, Rose insisted that was not the case.
“I wouldn’t mind [playing limited minutes] at all,” he said. “Of course I want to play more, but it’s not that big. I’m going to play whenever I’m ready. I don’t care if it’s 15 or 40 [minutes]. I just love the game too much. I’m just waiting, just praying about it and hopefully I’ll be out there soon.”
We’re just waiting here, too, hoping Rose comes back far sooner than later.
He is coming up on the one-year mark of his actual injury, which he sustained on April 28.