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Derrick Rose not closing door on return this season

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Updated: February 13, 2014 2:51PM



Maybe All-Star center Joakim Noah wasn’t on an island after all.

One day after Noah refused to rule out Derrick Rose’s return for the playoffs, Rose also left the door open — slightly.

“I haven’t even had a chance to think about it, to tell you the truth,’’ Rose, who tore the meniscus in his right knee Nov. 22, said Wednesday. “I’m just worrying about my next stage in this process, and that’s running right now. I’m on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] and running on that. Hopefully, I’ll be running without it pretty soon.’’

When Rose again was pressed about why he was keeping that option open, he said, “I’m not keeping it open. I just said right now I’m not thinking about it. I can’t think about it now. I’m not running yet. When I get off the AlterG, that’s when I’ll consider coming back or not.’’

Rose — as well as the rest of his teammates and key members of the franchise — was part of a red-carpet media session for the 25th annual “An Evening With the Chicago Bulls’’ charity gala at the United Center.

Rose did seem confident that he’d play for USA Basketball this summer.

“Yeah, for sure,’’ Rose said. “If my leg is feeling healthy and I’m there, I’m all in. Of course, I want to play for that team. Playing for that team, it helped the year I won the MVP, just getting in a groove. So I’m excited if I’m able to play in it.’’

The Bulls want to make sure Rose fully recovers and is ready to go next season. So while Noah and Rose were still grasping on to hope, there was a more businesslike approach from general manager Gar Forman.

“We’re still working under the premise that he’s out for the year,’’ Forman said. ‘‘Everything with his rehab is on schedule, and he’s doing well.’’

Rose had a vague response when queried about his rehab schedule.

“I haven’t even asked,’’ Rose said. “We haven’t even talked about it. I just come in every day, six days a week, and do all my work. And I’ll see how far it will take me when I step back on the court.

“I’m feeling good. It’s feeling good. It feels normal. It’s an easier process [than the rehab from the torn ACL was], for sure, but I’m able to walk. It feels normal right now, but I know it’s not there.’’

Rose finally was able to comment on the Luol Deng trade to the Cavaliers, and while several of his teammates initially were upset with the move made in early January, Rose has had time to let it sink in.

“I got a chance to talk to [Deng],’’ Rose said. “I texted him and talked to his friend. It’s a business, but at the same time, when you play with a person for six years … I remember Lu when I was in high school playing for the team. Him playing and then actually being his teammate, it’s kind of weird, but my feelings go out to him and his family, and I wish him nothing but the best.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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