Rose says he’s closer but not there yet


Mar 12

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I was talking to Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf Tuesday and reading him the comments to reporters from Derrick Rose earlier in the day. Rose talked about being cautious about a return to play, acknowledging the severity of the surgery he had and saying you don’t rush back from that, this considering his advisors told him to be patient and pretty much ignore the relentless noise around Rose about conspiracies regarding his mood and return to play.

Rose had laughed about that in comments before Bulls practice Tuesday in Los Angeles.

“If I rush back and something was to happen, everyone would say, ‘Why did you rush back?’” Rose said. “So I’m just taking my time and being prepared and knowing when I come back I want to be 100 percent.

Derrick Rose

“It’s crazy,” Rose laughed about all suspicions and speculation of a rift with the team and anger from him. “I hear about it. I try not to pay attention to it. Crazy, making up stuff. Everyone assumes everything. I’m the last person someone would have a confrontation with. I’m not trying to argue with anyone. Everything has been great. It’s crazy to hear all these stories going on. None of them are true.

“I think I can do everything (in basketball),” Rose said. “It’s just me having the confidence, just me feeling normal. I really don’t know (about a return date). I’m just like you all where I’m waiting to that day where I feel normal. Until then I just have to wait. I haven’t had any pressure from the organization or no one else to push me to go out and play.”

Reinsdorf doesn’t speak with Rose much as he says he relies on the management and coaching staff. But he said he’s always impressed listening to Rose and about how mature he is and how well he handles life situations.

“Of course, it’s up to him,” said Reinsdorf. “You never ask a player to play if he’s not ready. You never question an athlete if he’s hurt or not feeling right. If he does play and isn’t right he can get hurt again by being too careful. We support the way Derrick has handled this.”

So it’s back to the future, which is basically where the Bulls and Rose have been for months as Rose goes though the grueling and frustrating (perhaps more so for fans and media) process of returning from major knee surgery, the sort of injury, many forget, that not too long ago could end a player’s career or change him forever.

Rose said he’s talked extensively with his agent, former Bull B.J. Armstrong, who has multiple knee surgeries of his own and has counseled patience. Like Rose suggested about coming back and getting hurt, there’ll always be someone to second guess. So he has to do what he knows is right for him. And also why he says he’s tuned out so much of the talk and speculation about him.

Rose was anxious last summer after the May 12 surgery about a return. And when he spoke at Bulls media day last October, he talked about having to convince the Bulls and the doctors to let him return early. He’s been cleared to compete, but that’s a long step from playing in NBA games. Remember, Luol Deng was cleared in 2009 with his stress fracture. But he knew he wasn’t ready to play and wisely took several more months off. There remains a difference between being theoretically cleared and actually ready.

“I don’t have a date,” insisted Rose. “I haven’t really even thought about it. Like I said, just taking my time. I haven’t taken any steps back, moving forward, getting stronger every day. Did everything in the workout, (so) it’s getting easier. I’m moving in the right direction. That’s why I say normal. I’m just trying to feel normal. When I’m out there not thinking and just reacting, that’s when I know I’m ready.”

It’s been a maturation within a maturation for Rose.

He several times Tuesday mentioned being home with his infant son. Friends say they’ve seen a change in him since his son was born and a perspective that has enabled him to know that basketball isn’t everything and the only thing, but that he needs to be more right than more in a hurry.

There’s been much talk about the recovery of NFL player Adrian Peterson after a similar injury. Rose has talked to Peterson among many others who have had the injury and friends said Peterson told Rose given the movements and leaping required in basketball he wouldn’t have been able to return as fast for basketball. Other former NBA players who have had the surgery have counseled patience and some have told Rose they erred returning too soon or when the doctors cleared them for action.

There’s been this notion among some that Rose should play this season to get past the uncertainty that could haunt him in the offseason and that might delay his start into next season. But Rose reportedly has been assured by USA Basketball he would be among the players to be with them this summer as they prepare for tryouts for the World Championships team. (now called World Cup). So Rose presumably would get plenty of “game” action before next season that would not delay his season.

So it’s been a smiling, upbeat and confident Rose as he nears the end of his grueling rehabilitation with the confidence of someone who has seen his athletic life flash before his eyes, but who also understands there’s more to life and that patience and perseverance transcends youthful enthusiasm and haste.

“Right now, feeling about the same,” Rose started out. “My leg is getting a lot stronger. I’m just trying to be patient. I’m good, moving in the right direction, haven’t taken any steps back. That’s a good thing.”

Rose said his hamstrings aren’t an issue as was mentioned on TV Sunday during the Lakers game and just part of working back after so long off.

“I think I’m good,” he said. “I don’t really pay attention to it (all the speculation about him). I’ve just been focused on my rehab and my son. That’s about it. I’m trying to stay positive, talk about other stuff and when I’m home just be around my son.

“My teammates are doing great,” Rose said, “playing hard and fighting for me. That’s a good sign. We’re winning games, so I’m not worried about anything right now. Just (getting to) thinking you can do everything; just having the confidence to do it, more me feeling normal.

“With any surgery you’re just going to have to get over that hump and that’s what I’m doing now,” said Rose, who was comfortable and confident in his comments, no different than most anytime in his career with the Bulls speaking with reporters. “That’s what I’m doing now. When I get over that hump I should be fine. I knew going in this is a major injury. I knew talking to B.J., my agent. He had five knee surgeries. I can talk to him about everything about knees. He knows. Getting a lot of background stuff from him. (He told me to) take my time. Just taking my time and knowing when I come back I’m going to be normal. I want to be 100 percent.”

Rose was asked about his brother Reggie’s comments questioning the makeup of the team.

“My brother is my brother,” Rose said. “I’m going to have his back no matter what. The comments, he just felt he had to say something, that’s his opinion. I feel like the organization has been doing a great job of getting people around me, but he just had to get it off his chest.”

Rose said there’ll be a big meeting with the team and his representatives when it’s time to return, dotting I’s and crossing T’s, he said.

“I’m just coming back when I feel normal,” Rose said. “If that’s in a couple of days, that’s great; if it’s not, I’m fine.”

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