I have been doing my best to avoid Derrick Rose nonsense the past few weeks, whether it be Thibs talk or stuff from certain national journalists about how Rose has grown an inch or two. But when Rose talks, I pay attention, and the Bulls' superstar talked after going through a full shootaround this morning at the Berto Center.
Tonight's game had seemed like an ideal time to bring Rose back, being at home against a mediocre team after a couple of days off to practice. But alas, Rose still isn't ready, and the way he continues to talk, I'm almost at the point where I'm resigning myself to the fact that he's not coming back this season.
When asked about a possible return date, Rose sounded a familiar refrain (all quotes via the Chicago Tribune):
"Whenever I'm ready, I'm going to be out there," Rose said after Thursday's morning shootaround at the Berto Center.
"It can be tomorrow where I feel I can play next game," he said. "Nobody knows but God."
Going further, Rose, as Thibs has been saying all along, said that there's no drop-dead date for his return. When he's ready, he'll be back on the court, whether that's this weekend, right before the playoffs or next season. But while Rose says he wants to get back on the court "bad," he seems content being patient and sitting out the year:
"But knowing that my health is the biggest key. I'm only 24 years old. I got the whole future in front of me. I'm just trying to take my time.
"When I got my teammates behind me and they see how hard I'm pushing in practice and I'm seeing how hard they're fighting for me on the court, it makes me want to go harder. It makes me want to be out there more too. But you have to look at the big picture."
Rose talked a bit more specifically about how he's feeling and how he has been practicing. He says that he's "way stronger," his explosiveness is coming back and that he's very comfortable when he's playing 5-on-5 in practice. But he came back to a point he has mentioned before, saying that sometimes he thinks too much instead of just reacting. He also said the knee is still about the same as where it's been in recent weeks:
"Still about the same where you warm up a little bit, be loose, then activity picks up and it gets back sore," Rose said, when asked if all pain is gone. "It's going through that.
"I'm just getting used to my activity picked up a little bit. Just getting used to running, playing 5-on-5, doing everything I used to do."
At this point, I'm not sure what else can really happen in practice that will all of a sudden make Rose flip the switch and be ready to play in the next few weeks. It sounds like he's going hard and that he feels pretty good, but since there's still the soreness and apprehensiveness, he's not ready. He truly sounds like a guy who wants to be completely back to the player he once was before coming back, which is what he has been saying for a while now.
I myself have been saying in recent weeks that I'll support Rose in whatever decision he makes. And I still will, whether he sits or plays. But - and call me a meatball if you want - I'm getting a bit frustrated with this whole thing. We hear how good he looks and that he's feeling good, but then he says he's still not ready.
Ultimately, it's Rose's body and only he knows how he feels, which is why I would never rip the guy for sitting out the season. That's his prerogative and I can absolutely live with it, and there's not much downside to it other than having to sit through a summer with more speculation.
But based on all the information at hand, it seems like he could be out there playing and be just fine. Hopefully that day will come soon.
For video of Rose's comments from today, check out CSN Chicago.