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Should Bulls move on without Derrick Rose?

Updated: December 5, 2013 3:47PM

Derrick Rose was obviously taken back by the question.

“That the Bulls should move on [without me] …. What do you mean?’’ Rose said Thursday afternoon, making his first media appearance since undergoing right knee surgery on his torn meniscus.

The questions was rephrased. Same meaning. Two knee injuries since April 2012, and only one month of regular-season basketball since then. Should the Bulls start thinking about life without you?

“What can I say to that?’’ Rose replied, before going into an almost 15-second pause. “You can be a fool if you want to.

“Dead serious. I know I’m going to be alright.’’

A running theme for the 2011 MVP in an almost 22-minute press conference at the United Center. And it even included some déjà vu from the 18-month rehab process from the torn anterior cruciate ligament, especially when Rose wouldn’t rule out a return this season if the Bulls were to make the playoffs.

“I mean if I’m healthy and the situation is right, I’m going to be back playing [this season],’’ Rose said. “If I’m healthy and my meniscus is fully healed, of course I’ll be out there playing. But if it’s something totally different and the outcome is not how I would want it to be there is no need.’’

There will be no need. No matter what Rose says this time around, the likelihood of the Bulls even thinking about bringing him back for an April playoff run is slim to none, especially since medically the team has already declared him out for the season.

No, what Rose needs to concentrate on is being ready for next season. An uphill climb that he seems mentally ready to take on.

“I know I am,’’ Rose said, when asked if he could still be the same player before the two knee injuries. “A better player. If anything, this should even me out. When I think about it, the injury, I just turned and this happened, kind of like a freak accident. I put all I had into coming back and if this was to happen 10 more times, I’d be able to deal with it.

“I did all I could do and you’re telling me that me turning to go back down court, I’d tear my meniscus, I’ll deal with it. I put everything I had into coming back.’’

It was in the third quarter of the Nov. 22 game in Portland in which Rose went to make a back-cut, and felt a sharp pain in the knee. Three days later, he was back in Chicago having knee surgery. Welcome to the immediate roller coaster ride of “Why me’’ emotions that the point guard went through.

“Knowing what they told me like from a year ago [the ACL injury in the left knee], that when it catches something is wrong, I knew right then and there that it was something big that occurred and happened to me,’’ Rose said. “I got the MRI. They told me it was my meniscus. The next day or two, I flew to Chicago and got the surgery. I started thinking about like ‘Why me’ and all that stuff the day after the surgery.’’

Now, his mentality seems to almost be “why not me?’’

Rose talked about a higher power having a plan for him, talked about now having more time to become a business man, and having more time to spend with his son.

His approach to the summer won’t differ from the past, which means still no offseason pick-up basketball, but he did say he would explore trying to catch on with the USA World Championship Team if all systems were go by then.

What definitely won’t change? His style of play and his desire to bring a championship trophy to the city he grew up in.

“That’s the way that I play,’’ Rose said. “I play a unique way of playing basketball, and I can’t change that.’’

As far as a title chase now being further down his priority list, Rose said, “Oh hell no, no. I think that’s the only thing that I’m missing is a championship. You can have all the awards. You can have all the individual stuff. I think my career is going to be judged by championships. That’s the only thing I’m caring about right now.’’

Rose is already putting pressure on the knee, and has a rehab schedule mapped out that will now involve yoga and swimming. Admittedly, “The ACL, OK, I wasn’t taking care of my body like I was supposed to, so of course I can blame that on I’m not taking care of my body. But [the latest knee injury], c’mon man.’’

Expect Rose to start being around the team more, and eventually a regular fixture on the bench as the year goes on.

He sounded like a player that had all his bases covered. Except one.

While he’s excited to return to the court next season, he will very likely be returning to a team that could be very different. Luol Deng is a free agent and Carlos Boozer is a candidate to be amnestied, which means two of the four-man core that the Bulls have built around will be gone.

“Tell you the truth I haven’t even thought about that,’’ Rose said. “I haven’t had time to. I’m just worried about getting my leg together and cheer on the teammates I have on my team right now.’’


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