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Raptors guard John Lucas predicts late-February return for Derrick Rose

Marco Belinell; Kyle Lowry

Marco Belinell; Kyle Lowry

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Updated: February 19, 2013 2:24PM



TORONTO — Raptors guard John Lucas III was a business major at Oklahoma State, but that didn’t keep him from playing doctor Wednesday.

Lucas, a former Bull, keeps in touch with his ex-teammates and felt comfortable enough to predict a late-February return for Derrick Rose.

Lucas has kept in regular contact with Rose, checking on his rehab from surgery in May to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

“Knowing him, probably at the All-Star break, though it might be into the next month, March, but I just want him to come back 100 percent because the game needs him,’’ Lucas said.

“Not just the Bulls, but the NBA as a whole needs him, too.’’

Lucas appreciated that the Raptors gave him a healthy contract that will pay him just over $3 million through the 2013-14 season, but he sounded like a guy who missed his days in Chicago.

“The Madhouse, man, more than the games,’’ Lucas said of his fondest memory.

“Just pulling up to the arena and seeing the [Michael ] Jordan statue right out there in front, knowing that you’re playing in the same arena as MJ, [the arena] that he damn well built, you know.

“Coming out of the tunnel and seeing the fans, the intro music. You hear that music, and it’s ’93-94, when you were watching the games, and now you’re hearing it, and you’re out there with that jersey on.’’

More Rose

Rose made his third consecutive road trip with the team and continued to partake in every aspect, except full contact this week.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose’s progress hadn’t changed, but he wasn’t the least bit concerned about Rose’s conditioning when he’s ready to start playing games.

“Derrick is one of those guys that stays in great shape year-round,’’ Thibodeau said.

If anything, Rose looks to have added muscle through all the weight-training so he could come back even stronger.

“I think guys sort of evolve into that,’’ Thibodeau said of the weight-training.

“The longer you’re in the league, the more you start to understand the importance of that for maintenance, to be able to endure getting nicked up in the middle of the season.’’

Welcome

Thibodeau had never met new Bears coach Marc Trestman but liked the résumé.

“Sounds like he has a great background, though,’’ Thibodeau said.

“I was just reading about him. Wish him luck. Welcome to Chicago.’’



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