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Bulls’ Derrick Rose getting physically and mentally prepared to return

Although it’ll be a long, long time before Derrick Rose is able lead the Bulls on the court in an actual game, the superstar guard was all smiles Monday during media day.

How’s his surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament doing?

“It’s good,” said a grinning Rose, answering his first question of the day. “We’re here. Every week I’m improving. I’m just trying to stay patient and taking my time, and hopefully I’ll be back soon.”

Rose was pressed more than once for a target date for his return, but he declined each time. Rose tore his left ACL in Game 1 of the Bulls’ first-round series against Philadelphia on April 28 and underwent surgery weeks later. He was initially ruled out eight to 12 months.

“I have to prove them I’m ready to come back,” said Rose, the 2011 NBA most valuable player. “It is not whenever I’m ready. I’m going to have to prove to my doctors and my trainers that I’m willing to go out there and work hard and feel all right. Right now, I’m not at the stage where [I can] start cutting yet. I’m about two weeks away from that where I’m starting to cut.”

Rose said seeing and feeling how his knee handles making all the moves he used to make will be telling, but right now just considering them is daunting.

“Cutting is the hardest thing in the world right now to do,” Rose said. “I’m scared of it. When I think I get that out of my system, I think I’ll be pretty close. … Hopefully, it won’t take the whole


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