Rose talks about potential return and his status


Feb 13

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Derrick Rose said he’s certain he’s returning to the Bulls and will be as good as ever, that he’ll be an attacking, athletic player again, though it might not be this season since Rose admitted he’s still not able to dunk a basketball like he needs to in a game.

Rose talked to Chicago reporters in the Bulls locker room after the Bulls’ 71-69 loss to the Boston Celtics to head into the NBA All-Star break and a day after a USA Today interview in which Rose called himself in the 80’s on percentage, but said that he’d need to be 110 percent to return to play this season.

Derrick Rose

“I really don’t know,” Rose said about whether he believes he’ll play for the Bulls this season. “I’m feeling good. Like I said, it’s where it’s taken a long time and I’m still not feeling right I don’t mind missing this year.

“I would love (to play),” Rose added, upbeat and positive as he mingled around the locker room as if nothing ever changed. “That’s why I approach my rehab and workouts so hard, to get back on the court as quickly as possible. But if I have anything lingering on, it’s no point.

“My leg still isn’t feeling right (yet),” Rose conceded. “Mentally, I think I’m fine. Every week, I just try to stay on my rehab, do a little more, squat a little more, lift a little more. (I’m) taking it (rehabilitation) very serious.”

Talking about what he’ll need to see to know he’s ready to return, Rose smiled and added: “Being able to dunk (in game). I can’t dunk (like that). I know if I can dunk off stride I know I’ll be out there playing. But I can’t.”

It was Rose’s first interview with Chicago reporters since last fall, though he’s been traveling with the team and has chatted amiably, albeit off the record, with reporters in the locker room and around the court in the repetitive pictures of him shooting. Rose had asked the Bulls to limit any interviews during his rehabilitation, but he apparently decided to open up a bit given the USA Today interview and interviews to come with NBA TV and ESPN.

Relax. He’s as humble, engaging and approachable as ever. But he seems more solidly built, stronger and perhaps more confident given the ordeal and disappointment he’s been through. You still want to give him a hug and tell him everything will be all right, though he obviously doesn’t need it as he assures you he’ll be great.

“Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” said Rose. “Slowly getting back in the mix. The other day we played three-on-three, one-on-one. I felt good out there. I’m not trying to rush myself. I’m still trying to be patient and take my rehab very serious right now.

“No setbacks,” Rose added. “That’s a good thing to go in every day knowing you are getting better. It’s great knowing (the team) is winning games. It seems like they are fighting out there. I don’t have anything but to respect them for how hard they’ve been working and practicing and going out there and playing as a team.”

Rose said he’s not the least bit fearful of taking hits on his knee and fully knows they will come. It’s just part of basketball, he shrugged.

“I’m not afraid of that,” said Rose. “I know that’s going to happen. That’s the way I play. I’m not scared of taking a hit at all. I’m working on my shot. But you’re not going to label me as a shooter. I’m going to be someone who can consistently hit a jump shot. But my game is always going to be driving.”

Rose said about returning he’ll consult his agent, B.J. Armstrong, the Bulls executives, the doctors and trainers. But Rose insisted in the end it would be his decision.

“It’s really on me to make a decision on when I’m going to play again,” said Rose. “That’s cool they left it up to me.”

Rose said he watches some of the other NBA players who have had the surgery and are just returning, though more so is encouraged by the players who have had this surgery over the years and returned to productive careers missing little form their game.

“I’ve been looking at people in the past,” Rose said. “Everybody, I think, is coming back better. It’s exciting to know all my hard work is going to pay off one day. I just don’t know when. The last thing I’m thinking about is coming back too soon. I know it’s all on me. I’ve just got to make a decision when I’m ready.”

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