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Bulls’ Rose: “My story is far from done”
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Dec 5
Less than two weeks removed from season-ending knee surgery, Derrick Rose was on hand at the United Center to discuss the injury and what lies ahead as he endures another rehabilitation process.
There is no doubt Rose has a long road ahead in terms of the physical aspects, though not as severe as when he worked his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. But for those wondering how he’s doing mentally, Rose repeatedly expressed confidence in himself and expressed no doubt he’ll play at a superstar level again.
Perhaps the highlight from Thursday’s press conference was when Rose was asked if the Bulls should move in another direction or stop trusting in their former NBA MVP point guard.
“You can be a fool if you want to,” Rose responded. “Dead serious. I know I’m going to be alright.”
Rose expanded on that notion more than once, confidently stating that he believes he will return to the same level that catapulted him to among the elite players of the league.
“It shouldn’t be hard for me at all,” said Rose. “I don’t have anything to complain about. I think the hard part that I had to go through in life, period, is living in poverty and not being able to get what I want. I’ve got everything that I want and I just can’t play the game that I love playing. But I have my son and I think he’s going to be huge in this process. I’ll be around him a lot.”
As for the injury itself, which occurred in the third quarter of Chicago’s loss at Portland on Nov. 22, Rose isn’t certain there is anything he could have done differently to prevent it.
“I just turned and this happened, kind of like a freak accident,” he said. “If this were to happen 10 more times, I’ll be able to deal with it. I did all that I could do. I’ll put everything I have into coming back.”
As Rose embarks on doing that, he does so with a better understanding of his body and how to take care of it. But the news that resulted from a seemingly harmless sequence on the hardwood was difficult to accept at first, especially given that Rose was starting to play well and return to form when it happened.
“That’s what’s heartbreaking; I think I put two good games together,” said Rose. “The way that I performed, I was coming back to myself. It was just a matter of time before I caught my rhythm.”
Instead, Rose is working towards another recovery. He underwent successful surgery to repair the torn medial meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 25 and he’s kept a low profile since then, staying at home for several days after the procedure before beginning daily rehab with Jen Swanson, Director of Sports Performance for the Bulls.
Arrangements for Rose to travel with the team will be forthcoming, but not likely until after he’s off crutches.
“He’ll be around the team,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau of Rose. “He talks to me a lot and we talk about the team; we talk about our opponents, things like that. He’s involved. Mentally, he’s very involved.”
While it’s not the role Rose wishes he was fulfilling, it’s something he looks forward to doing in an effort to remain close to his teammates.
“For sure, just being around and being a leader, letting them hear my voice,” said Rose. “I get a chance to look at the game a different way, especially [once] I’m on the bench every game and kind of look at it as a coach. I’ll try to learn every game.”
Rose also wants to support the other players on the roster who have done so much to support him.
“They’ve been great, texting me and making sure I’m fine, trying to send me food,” said Rose. “I’m just feeling love, especially from the organization and my teammates for making sure I feel comfortable. When I’m around, they don’t talk about [the injury] or anything. At worst they ask one question and then it’s a regular conversation and I appreciate that.”
Thibodeau said Rose offers great insights, calling him a student of the game. He hopes that Rose seeing basketball from a different perspective will accelerate his overall development.
“Most players at some point in their career are going to deal with injury,” remarked Thibodeau. “He made it through the ACL and got through that very well. That recovery is complete and [that knee] is completely healthy. He was explosive and that gives him a frame of reference to deal with this one.
“This one is not nearly as severe and he’s already mapping out his preparations for next season and getting ready,” Thibodeau added. “At the end of the day, hopefully it will be nothing more than a bump in the road.”
Though no season-ending news is good news, Rose was relieved to learn that this latest injury was not another ACL tear.
“Last year, the training and rehab were all new to me,” said Rose. “But this year, it should be easier where I know what to do. I’m walking; I’m able to put pressure on my leg now. With the ACL, I wasn’t able to put pressure on my leg. I wasn’t able to bend my leg until three or four months [into the process]. I’m able to bend my leg right now. It should be a smoother process.”
Rose revealed he’s recently picked up yoga and swimming to alleviate some of his body’s tightness in addition to clearing his mind.
“The process of actually dealing with an injury was frustrating at first, knowing that I’m going to miss a long period of time without playing the game that I love playing,” said Rose. “It was tough right when it happened, but having days to think about it and being appreciative of going out there and showing glimpses how I used to play, that’s encouraging. Just knowing that I have a bright future, I’m alright. My faith is good, my spirit is good, and I’ll be back.”
When that time comes, Rose is hopeful he won’t have to change the way he plays the game.
“I don’t think so,” said Rose. “I play a unique way of playing basketball and I can’t change that. I’m used to being in this position. I’ve been in this position my whole life being the underdog. How I play is how I play and that’s hard. Like I said, I could tear it 10 more times. As long as I’m playing hard and giving the game my all, I can live with it for the rest of my life.”
While it’s easy to think about the short-term pain, Rose is keeping the big picture in mind. After all, he’s still only 25 years old. And though this latest injury will keep him from the attaining the ultimate goal this season, Rose made it clear that winning a title is no less of a priority.
“Oh hell no,” said Rose. “The only thing that I’m missing is a championship. You can have the awards and all the individual stuff, but I think my career is going to be judged by championships. That’s the only thing I’m caring about right now.”
As Rose came back from the ACL injury, he always believed he would return a stronger, better than ever player. When asked about that mentality and if he’s second-guessed himself in the last couple weeks, Rose didn’t hesitate.
“Not at all,” said Rose. “I believe that I’m a special player. I know my story is far from done.”