Derrick Rose returns Saturday against Pacers
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter October 4, 2013 10:00PM
Derrick Rose, Arron Afflalo
Updated: November 6, 2013 6:08AM
Derrick Rose’s birthday plans included a flight to Indianapolis, a team dinner, then sleep.
“Nothing exciting, man; I live a boring life,’’ Rose said after practice Friday on his 25th birthday.
Call it the calm before the storm.
On Saturday, the eyes of the basketball world will be fixed on Rose, who last played in an NBA game 526 days ago.
“It’s going to be exciting, but at the same time just take it as a regular game and get the victory,’’ Rose said of the exhibition against the Indiana Pacers.
And for Rose, sidelined all of last season with a surgically repaired left anterior cruciate ligament, there wasn’t an ounce of nervousness leading up to his return.
“No, not at all,’’ Rose said. “Like I said, I prepared myself for this.
‘‘This is the biggest stage that I’ll probably play on in my whole career, so you think I’m going to come out here and be unprepared for that? I have to be prepared, just knowing that I want to leave a great legacy.’’
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose’s minutes hadn’t been determined, but he announced that center Joakim Noah (groin) would miss the game.
That doesn’t mean Noah will miss the event.
“I wish I was playing with him, but I know it’s really exciting,’’ Noah said. “The guy put in a lot of work, and this is it. You get to play against one of our rivals. I know it’s preseason. It’s exciting.’’
Noah wasn’t the only Bull who felt that way.
“After four or five days of pounding on each other, it’s always fun to have a game,’’ reserve guard Kirk Hinrich said.
“But, yeah, we’re excited to see Derrick, obviously, out there for the first time and get out there with him. It’ll be a good test.’’
The Pacers are expected to go head-to-head with the Bulls all season for Central Division supremacy.
For Thibodeau, that seemed to carry more weight than Rose’s return.
“Nobody is going to take it easy on Derrick because he’s coming back,’’ Thibodeau said. “My expectation is, I’m worried about the whole team.
‘‘So it’s not only how [Rose] is; it’s how he functions with the team and how the team functions with him.’’
If the first week of camp was any indication, everyone appears confident with the adjustments.
“It’s about getting back into the rhythm of them,’’ Rose said. “They’ve been playing since last year. Last year, they learned how to win games without me on the court.
‘‘It’s me adjusting to them, learning their tendencies over again, running the plays hard, so that everybody is on the same page. That’s my job, to control the floor and see how much I can control the game with the ball in my hands.’’