Derrick Rose: ‘I’m in control of the whole process’
By Joe Cowley firstname.lastname@example.org May 4, 2013 11:22AM
Updated: May 4, 2013 5:13PM
NEW YORK – Spinal taps, puke buckets, plantar fasciitis, the flu, all the sacrifices displayed by Derrick Rose’s teammates over the last two weeks is appreciated, but the Bulls point guard said on Saturday that it doesn’t change his mentality as he recovers from the anterior cruciate ligament surgery in his left knee from last May.
“It’s been hard,” Rose said of sitting out all year and into the playoffs, “but I’m able to get past it, knowing that my teammates are out there playing hard, giving the game everything they got. That’s all I can ask for.”
As far as the building criticism directed at Rose, who was cleared by team doctors almost two months ago to return to game action, he’s been almost untouched by it.
“That’s my first time hearing about it,” Rose said. “I barely turn on the TV. I’m with my son all day. So that’s about it.”
He was asked if the “Rose Camp” has made the decision to keep him out, whether it’s his brother/manager Reggie, Adidas or his agent/adviser B.J. Armstrong, and did his best to try and shoot that theory down.
“Who said that? If anything, it’s up to me,” Rose said. “My brother and them can’t tell me what to do with my body. They give me control. I’m in control of the whole process. It’s really all on me.”
And the pressure to play won’t sway that.
All-Star forward Luol Deng remained in a Chicago hospital Saturday morning, while point guard Kirk Hinrich was still hoping his bruised left calf would somehow get better this afternoon, but looked doubtful at best. Meanwhile, the flu-like symptoms that had Nate Robinson vomiting on the sideline in the third quarter, and made Taj Gibson resemble a zombie from “The Walking Dead” seem to have passed, but that hasn’t changed Rose’s status.
He said that he has still not reached the point where he can just react without thinking about the left knee.
“Still thinking,” Rose said. “Still trying to take my time. Still the same old thing. If anything, trust me, I’ll let you all know. It’s still the same. I swear if anything changes, trust me, I’ll let you know.”
According to Rose, what has also made the process easier is not one person from the organization has asked him to play.
“No one,” Rose said. “I haven’t had any pressure anywhere. You hear stuff. People say stuff. I have a lot of people text me, asking if I’m doing all right because I guess they’re paying attention to what’s going on in social media. I’m far from it. I rarely watch games. If it’s not our game, I rarely watch it. I know every team. I’ve been watching teams the whole year. There are good teams out there. I know basketball. I just got to get out on the court and play.”
Rose said that when he is ready to return, the product on the court will be better than anyone could have imagined.
“Health-wise, if I do take the whole year off and don’t play anymore, I know I’m going to come back a better player,” Rose said.
But Rose still won’t rule this season out. If the Bulls win Game 7 tonight against Brooklyn, they will fly straight to Miami to face the Heat. As doubtful as it seems, Rose still won’t say the words, “I’m done for the year.”
“No. Who knows?” he replied, when asked why not just say you’re not playing this year. “It’s still in the air where I’m still trying to be positive and still trying to take care of my body.”
That decision, according to Rose, is still being backed by his teammates.
“It gives me some comfort,” Rose said. “They see how hard I’m working in the gym, just putting my all into the game and sacrificing a lot of stuff to be a better player. Whenever I come back, I know I’m going to be way, way better. Just having that time to relax and be patient and fully heal, that’s the big picture right now.”