Bulls optimistic, hopeful for complete Rose recovery


May 15

Not only was the surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in Derrick Rose’s left knee a success, the Bulls head team physician believes last season’s NBA MVP is very capable of returning to his pre-injury level of play.

Dr. Brian Cole was joined by Bulls general manager Gar Forman and athletic trainer Fred Tedeschi to discuss Rose’s surgery at Rush University Medical Center on Tuesday. Head coach Tom Thibodeau was also on hand.

“You should all be pleased to know that Derrick is doing great,” said Dr. Cole, who was the lead on Rose’s surgery Saturday morning. “The surgery went extremely well. Really no surprises.”

Dr. Cole said Rose’s surgery to repair his isolated ACL tear suffered during the Bulls’ Game 1 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on April 28 was “pretty routine.”

More importantly, Dr. Cole is very optimistic about Rose’s recovery. As for when Rose might be back on the court, the Bulls are hopeful it will happen at some point in early 2013.

“You think of it as a return to sport and ultimately that’s the end game here,” said Dr. Cole of Rose’s timeline. “We think of recovery as a long process that is in stages. The short answer is the timeframe that we believe an athlete of this caliber generally requires is about eight to twelve months. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer.”

Dr. Cole added that he believes Rose will regain all of his abilities he possessed prior to injury.

“It’s impossible to predict tomorrow,” Dr. Cole said. “Statistically, he should be that player and then some. That doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed.”

As for Rose’s rehabilitation, the process has already started in Chicago, where it will continue for the time being. In past summers, Rose has spent time working out in Los Angeles. Regardless of Rose’s location, the Bulls plan to be involved every step along the way.

“Wherever he is and whatever he’s doing, we’ll be there,” said Tedeschi.

As Rose worked with Cole and the Bulls’ staff in the days following the injury, several steps were taken prior to the surgery.

“The goals initially are to get his motion back, minimize the swelling, have him walk with a normal gait, be able to activate his quadriceps, get some single leg activities [and] really to get him functioning as normal as possible, making sure his motion is perfect,” explained Dr. Cole of why surgery was not performed immediately after the injury. “We met all those objectives.”

Moving forward, for many of the same reasons Rose has enjoyed so much success on the court, the Bulls are optimistic his rehab will go just as well.

For starters, Rose’s youth is certainly on his side.

“Age is absolutely in his favor,” said Dr. Cole of Rose. “The best part about it is that he’s 23 and he has outstanding healing potential.”

Additionally, Rose’s work ethic figures to be invaluable as he works his way back.

“He’s a fierce competitor as we all know,” said Thibodeau. “But he’s also very coachable. Whatever he’s being asked to do, he’s going to do it and he’ll do it well. He’ll do fine. He’s in great spirits right now and he’s very determined.”

“Derrick is obviously a wonderful kid. Those of you who know him know he’s terrific to deal with on a daily basis,” said Tedeschi. “As a patient, he’s done everything I’ve asked and more. You ask Derrick to be there at 11 and he’s there at 10:30. Once you get him there, he does exactly what you ask. He’ll be terrific in this, I have no doubt.”

Rose’s character, coupled with his support staff, will also be key elements over the next year. But so far, despite the injury, Rose has maintained a positive outlook.

“The time I’ve spent with him, his sprits seem really good,” said Forman. “In his mind, he’s determined to attack this rehab and get his game back to the level it was.”

“Like everything, he’s diligent in his approach,” added Thibodeau. “I think he prepared for the surgery well and now he’s going into the next phase. He’s very upbeat.”

And while sooner than later, the Bulls will have to address the offseason and prepare for the 2012-13 season, for now, the priority is Rose.

“The most important thing for us right now is his health,” said Thibodeau. “We want to focus on that. As we said during the season when it happened, it’s a new challenge for us. We’ll get through it. We want him to prioritize his health right now. When he’s ready to come back, he comes back. There will be no pressure on him to come back soon. When he’s ready, he’s ready. We’ll move forward from there.”

While Forman admitted that the loss of Rose hurts, he said it won’t change the way the Bulls are operating with respect to the big picture.

“Obviously short-term, we’re going to take a hit,” said Forman. “Our thinking in general long-term won’t change at all.”

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