Derrick Rose on return: ‘I’m going to play whenever I’m ready’
By JOE COWLEY email@example.com April 7, 2013 11:40AM
Updated: April 7, 2013 6:06PM
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – If this season is truly over for Derrick Rose without playing a single minute, that’s still news to him.
Rose continued to stay away from ruling himself out of a return to the court before the 2012-13 campaign ends, despite the regular season all but done, and the Bulls trying to get ready for the playoffs.
“I’m not trying to think about that right now,’’ Rose said on Sunday, when asked how realistic it was that he would play this year. “I’m just trying to get better. I’m just trying to help my teammates, give them confidence to go out there and play hard. And just be a great teammate. I’ll play whenever I’m ready to play. Who knows when I’m ready to? Right now, all I can do is just cheer on my teammates.’’
A practice he will continue tonight, when the Bulls play the Pistons. Rose, along with Rip Hamilton and Taj Gibson, are likely out for the meeting in Detroit, while Marco Belinelli (strained abdomen) and Joakim Noah (right foot plantar fasciitis) had “a chance’’ to play, according to coach Tom Thibodeau.
But it’s Rose that all eyes have been on, as the MVP has been recovering from May surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Asked if he would come out and just say he’s missing the season, Rose responded with, “Oh no. I’m keeping it open.’’
Even for the playoffs?
“Yes, for sure,’’ Rose said.
As far as the theory that Rose didn’t want to return unless he could be the dominant, 40-minute-a-night, explosive player, Rose said that while the explosiveness is key, he was not against coming back and playing limited minutes if need be.
“Of course I want to play more,’’ Rose said. “But it’s not that big. I’m going to play whenever I’m ready. I don’t care if it’s 15 [minutes] or 40. I just love the game too much. Like I said, I’m just waiting and praying about it. And hopefully I’ll be out there soon.’’