The really big Rose moment is just about here


Oct 5

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When you think excitement, you think Indianapolis. I know I do. Hey, they had the Super Bowl! Chicago didn’t.

Anyway, it’s another big event in Indianapolis Saturday night, the return from knee surgery of…

Danny Granger?

Oh, yes, and Mike Dunleavy returns to the city where he had his best season, averaging 19.1 per game in 2007-08 playing for the Pacers. That being, of course, before he had knee surgery and missed most of the 2008-09 season.

See, it’s not only Bulls players who are injured.

“It’s fun to be part of history with a big October preseason game,” smirked Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

Hey, I’m starting to like that guy more. Nice sarcasm.

No wonder everyone hates the media only a little less than it does Congress.

Have you heard? Derrick Rose is playing his first game, albeit a pretend game, since his April 2012 knee injury.

Obviously, that was very serious. And this is of great curiosity, though not of substantial significance. Unless everyone expects Rose to flop around like a seal out of water.

We saw him shooting and dunking months ago in those pregame teases. He’s fine. George Hill and C.J. Watson aren’t exactly going to wear him out.

“I heard he’s doing very well,” said Watson, Rose’s backup, actually impressively, when Rose missed 27 games before his playoff injury in 2012 and now with the Pacers. “Obviously, he’s a great player. He’s going to come back at full strength and put on a show.

“You just try to see how his game developed and changed from the rehab,” said Watson. “Just put him in pick and rolls, stuff like that, push the tempo, make him play defense.”

Watson, who always has a playful humor hiding behind his phlegmatic exterior, then said he was talking with former teammate Carlos Boozer Friday night about the differences between Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and Vogel.

“They’re very similar,” said Watson. “I just think Vogel’s a little more nicer than Thibs sometimes.”

Yes, it’s preseason. Still time to laugh.

Not that the regular season needs to be funereal, but this preseason has generally taken on a somber and serious tone given the anticipation surrounding the first Rose bloom of fall.

Reporters have gotten a hold of this one and aren’t letting go.

I personally hate the “feel” questions. You know, the how’s it feel to make a basket, to deliver a good pass, to eat a bad hot dog. I do know what latter feeling the best.

Rose has pretty much been battered with the same feel question the last week or so, though more in the future tense with the auxiliary verb. How will you feel?

Rose, to his credit, has greeted the regular media sessions—two in the last 22 hours through Saturday morning with only flying, eating and watching TV in between–with patience and aplomb.

He’s pretty much repeated what he said Friday, Thursday, Monday and the previous Sunday.

He’s prepared. He’s not nervous. He’s looking forward to it. It’s basketball, which he sort of has done every day most of the last 20 years and he’s good with it all.

Rose prefers, unlike much of the media, to acknowledge he isn’t playing alone and actually has teammates. He’s repeated he has to more adjust to them and is looking forward to fitting in.

Anyone who’s been around Rose knows that is his attitude. Some have suggested Rose would now have to be a different player when he returns, that he cannot be about himself, scoring and taking over games but playing with his teammate and getting them more involved. Which suggests those people hadn’t seen him play before. Rose always plays like that, and he only became a big scorer when the team needed him to. He was force fed game ending opportunities practically against his will when he came to the Bulls because the Bulls wanted to speed the process of him being a go to guy.

It never was his profile, not in high school when he backed off so teammates could be seen more to get scholarships while still making sure they won, and similarly in college when he helped several teammates who had no chance of being in the NBA become draft picks.

Rose knows better than anyone who he is and what he can do, which is why he seems so comfortable about the moment.

As reporters scurried around the Bulls locker room Saturday morning before practice gathering up comments about the historic nature of the moment, Rose sat on the floor, stretching, making light conversation with teammates and passing reporters about last night’s dinner and the current trip, that goes to St. Louis Monday to play Memphis.

Another game. Been there, done that, even if not after sitting out 18 months. But as Rose has continued to emphasize, he’s prepared for this for more than a year. It is one of Thibodeau’s mantras. When you are prepared, there is nothing to worry about.

“I just know a lot of people are going to be watching,” Rose noted. “But when you are living in the moment (more Thibs speak) you really can’t tell how big it is. The only time you should get nervous is when you’re not prepared. For me, I’ve been preparing for this moment a long time. It’s going to feel good being out there on the court.”

Hey, a “feel” moment!

“You can run all you want and condition all you want, but there’s nothing like actually playing in the game and getting that game type wind,” Rose went on. “It may take two to five games; it might take up to the regular season. As long as I’m playing in these games I’m going to try to push myself in every practice and every game until the regular season until I’m ready.”

You mean we won’t know Saturday night? This era needs answers! You can’t Tweet complicated and complex.

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