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Derrick Rose opens up to CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam

It's safe to say that in the past week, the adidas PR machine has really ratcheted up its efforts to promote the return of Derrick Rose as he recovers from ACL surgery. It started when he finally joined Twitter, and only intensified when a tweeted picture of him back on the court (in adidas gear) was followed by the release of an "All In" adidas promo that featured intense images of him rehabbing.

The first wave of this marketing campaign culminated with an in-depth interview between Rose and CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam. The interview was done last month in Los Angeles and touches on a wide variety of topics, from the injury to the rehab to the Bulls' offseason and much, much more (including a whole section where they pimp adidas).

The interview was shortened and cut into a Part 1 and a Part 2 on CSN Chicago's website, but SLAM Magazine posted the uncut video to their YouTube page (h/t to MouseintheHouse for finding it and making it a FanShot while we puttered around the past few days):

Some analysis of the interview after the jump.

On the ACL tear

"I remember it. I remember everything. I remember jumping in the air and coming back down, and just, a popping sound. I felt it actually tear when I laid all the way out and you just feel like it just let go. I didn't have much pain after that. In the beginning I did, but I didn't want to yell or anything. When that happened, all I could think about was just people talking. You could hear the whole arena, people just whispering all around. One of the things, like 'Not again. Come on man. First game back. We had the win.' And I was just hoping it was nothing serious. Then, we got to the hospital, got in the MRI machine, the whole time praying."

Much like Derrick, I certainly remember that moment all too well. All the excitement leading up to that game came crashing down the instant that he crashed to the floor in a heap. The initial silence in the United Center was absolutely deafening. After I myself sat in stunned silence for a few moments, that disbelief quickly turned to anger at Thibs for having his superstar out there in a game that was well in hand. That dead horse has long since been beaten, but a small part of me wonders how things would have been different if Thibs had taken Rose out just a minute or two earlier. Maybe something like this was unavoidable because of all those other injuries, but I guess we'll never know. And perhaps Rose will learn to take the foot off the gas pedal with a game that has been won.

This next quote, which follows the previous one in the interview, is just painful to read:

"Dr. Cole, the Bulls' doctor, came up to me and told me it was torn. I couldn't believe it. That's the closest thing to death, the closest to death I've got to right there, where it just seemed like the wind and everything was taken out."

That whole death thing may be a bit of hyperbole, but I don't doubt that's how he felt at that moment. Basketball is life to Rose, and when it was wrestled away like that in an instant, it had to be really tough to bear.

On the rehab

"I'm just taking my time. I'm definitely two to three weeks ahead of where I'm supposed to be, but that still doesn't help the part healing wise. I've still got to take time off for my leg to heal. Of course, strength-wise, it's getting better every day, but scar tissue has to heal, getting used to me laying on my knees. Knee's still numb in some areas. Hopefully I'll get over that, but the doctor says I should forget about it when the season goes on, so I should be all right."

So as we've heard for quite some time now, Rose is in fact a bit ahead of schedule. But considering the type of young, elite athlete that he is, that really shouldn't come as too big a shock. And as many others have said, it sure seems like most players are "ahead of schedule" when it comes to this type of stuff. It's definitely great news that there have been no setbacks and that the rehab is going swimmingly, but I don't think we should expect some miracle return before the new year. Aggrey's article even states that the plan is to keep Rose out through the February All-Star break, so we just need to be patient.

On people's reaction to his injury and his motivation to prove "haters" wrong

"The injury could have been way worse. You've got some people that probably feel worse than I am, but I know I'm going to be all right. I believe in God, my spirits are up and I believe in myself, and I know I'm going to be back even stronger."

As mentioned by bryield in the FanShot, I'm pretty sure it's official that Rose reads this blog, because the majority of us probably have been feeling worse than him. The injury also has brought out plenty of doubters on how well he will recover (I would include myself in that group), and he has something to say to those people:

"I know it's going to push me even harder. It seemed like I missed all last year, played games here and there, but I still missed a lot of games. And this year, I know a whole bunch of haters out there are saying so many things. I think that's what's going to drive me, thinking about what people are saying - 'Is he going to be back, is he going to have his speed,' or this and that - I know that's going to push me as a player."

"I'm listening and watch everything, and if I don't hear it, best believe one of my friends hears it and they're telling me. That's why I love them to death, because they know that motivates me and makes me want to do better as a player."

Welp, if Rose and his camp actually do read this blog, he should have PLENTY of motivation. Also, the Heat championship was briefly mentioned as further motivation. He didn't seem too happy to talk about it.

On the NBA/Bulls offseason

"The league is changing, it's definitely changing. For the Bulls franchise, I think we have a good group. We did lose some good pieces, obviously, like Kyle and some other good players left, but it's the league. It's been like that since my rookie year, where every year I've been playing with different people. I haven't had a guard that I've played with for a long period of time, but that's what the Bulls are looking for and hopefully that's what we get."

Rose answered the question about the league changing with a bit of a smirk on his face, and I do like how he sort of expresses his "frustration" with never having a reliable guard to play next to. We all know he's never been one to rip the front office or his teammates, but perhaps he needs to start becoming a bit more outspoken when it comes to personnel decisions, whether that's recruiting other players or actually putting pressure on management. Maybe this is that start, but he also did go on to say that the decisions aren't up to him and he just has to "roll with it." (and in a similar vein to not recruiting guys, Rose said he hasn't reached out to other guys who have suffered ACL injuries)

Speaking of those personnel decisions, Rose of course had some thoughts on our dear friend Kurt:

"Adding Kirk, of course he'll be filling in that spot for a bit. Adding him, he's someone that's been in that type of position for a long time. He's a winner. Thibs is a winner. I know Thibs will love him. He still has his house in the city, so I think that will make him more comfortable with playing and he'll be back in the city."

So did Aggrey plant that whole "house in the city" bit beforehand? These guys just have to be trolling us at this point. And I can only imagine Thibs will love Kirk's grindyness and least until he gets consistently torched by quick point guards.

And as for the Rose/Thibs relationship, Derrick did mention that he talks with his coach as much as possible, whether it's about basketball or life. But it's mostly about basketball, because of course.

Final Thoughts

There was quite a bit more in the interview, so I definitely recommend watching the whole thing. But all in all, it's refreshing to see Rose give such a candid take on the events of the past couple of months. It's been a tough one for the Bulls and their fans, so seeing Rose in such good spirits is somewhat uplifting. I, and many others, obviously won't feel great until we see Rose back to his old self and the front office actually make moves that take the Bulls closer to a title, but this will have to do for now. I will leave you with Rose's closing statement from the interview:

"That I'm good, man. My biggest thing is just them feeling sorry for me. I'm walking, I'm able to play this sport again, so I hope they continue to come out, cheer for the team next year - we're definitely going to need them - and stay patient."