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Derrick Rose not sure he’ll return to Bulls this season

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Updated: March 12, 2013 8:52PM



LOS ANGELES — It’s all mental for Derrick Rose now.

The hamstrings are better. The workouts easier. He can do everything physically. He’s feeling no pressure from the Bulls to return. Reggie’s just being Reggie. And there’s no rift between Derrick and the Bulls organization.

He’ll be back when he feels like it. That’s going to have to be good enough.

‘‘I don’t know [if I’ll play this season],’’ said Rose, speaking to Chicago reporters before practice Tuesday. ‘‘I’m coming back when I feel normal. If that’s in a couple of days, that’s great. If it’s not, I’m fine.’’

If there was anything else to be discerned from Rose’s latest and most expansive update to local reporters, it’s that his reticence to return to the court after more than three weeks of five-on-five practices appears to be more out of caution than fear. The mental ‘‘hump’’ he talked about is a hurdle, not a barrier — not an insignificant distinction.

Though he’s not ruling out missing the season — but has not even considered a ‘‘drop-dead’’ date — an educated guess is that it’s just a matter of time before he returns. He’s not afraid he won’t be Derrick Rose when he returns. He wants to make sure he’s as close as he possibly can be when he gets back on the court.

‘‘I think with any surgery, mentally, you have to get over that hump — that’s what I’m doing,’’ Rose said. ‘‘I’m able to play, but it’s just getting over that hump — I should be fine.

‘‘I think I can do everything [physically]. It’s just me having the confidence to do it. I’m just trying to feel normal. When I’m out there and not thinking and just reacting, that’s when I know I’ll be ready.’’

‘‘I’m just like y’all — waiting for that day where I feel normal. I haven’t had any pressure form the organization. Nobody’s pushing me to play. My teammates have been great. They’re playing hard for me, still playing hard and fighting. That’s a good sign. And we’re winning games. I’m not worried about anything right now.’’

Rose also said there’s no rift between him and the organization, as has been speculated as anxiety over his return has increased. While he’s still within the eight-to-12-month recovery timetable, that Rose has been practicing with the team for 22 days without returning to the lineup is unusual even for major knee operations.

‘‘Crazy, making up stuff,’’ Rose said, laughing, when asked about the purported rift. ‘‘Everybody assumes everything. I’m the last person that someone would have a confrontation with. I’m not trying to argue with anyone. Everything’s been great. It’s crazy all the stories that are going on that I know aren’t true.’’

On the telecast of Sunday’s 90-81 loss to the Lakers, Rose expressed concern that his hamstrings were ‘‘on fire,’’ according to ABC reporter Doris Burke. But Rose said Tuesday it was not a major issue.

‘‘They’re coming along,’’ Rose said. ‘‘They’re getting a lot stronger. Moving in the right direction. I haven’t taken any steps back. That’s a good thing.’’

Rose said the mental hurdle is not a surprise to him, and B.J. Armstrong, his agent, has prepared him for it and counseled him on how to get over it. The most important advice from Armstrong?

‘‘Just take my time,’’ Rose said. ‘‘If I would rush back and something was to happen, everybody would say, ‘Why did you rush back?’ So I’m just taking my time and being prepared and knowing when I come back I want to be 100 percent.’’



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