Derrick Rose spoke to reporters for the first time since Oct. 1 following the Bulls 71-69 loss to the Boston Celtics.
In an interview with USA Today on Monday, the point guard said that he’s in the high 80’s as far as measuring his progress in returning, but told reporters that “My leg still isn’t feeling right,” and if it takes too long for him to feel sure about returning to the court that He wouldn’t mind missing the year.
“Right now I’m feeling pretty good,” Rose said. “I’m slowly getting back in the mix. The other day, we played a three-on-three, one-on-one and I felt good out there. I’m not trying to rush myself, just still trying to be patient and just trying to take my rehab very seriously right now. It’s both [mental and physical] still. My leg still isn’t feeling right. Mentally, I think I’m fine. Every week, just try to do something different. Every day, stay on my rehab, do a little bit more, lift a little bit more, squat a little bit more and taking it very serious.
“I would love to [play this season]. That’s why I approach my rehab and workouts so hard. I’m trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible, but if I have anything lingering on, it’s no point.”
Rose said that the decision is ultimately up to him, although he listed agent B.J. Armstrong and Bulls management also play a key role in the decision-making. He also said there is no pressure to try and speed up his return.
“Not at all,” he said. “That’s the last thing I’m thinking about is coming back too soon. I know that it’s all on me, so I’ve just got to make the decision when I’m ready.”
Many are accustomed to the explosion and force that Rose plays with and in the USA Today interview he talked about being excited about the type of player he would be once he returns with all the work he’s put into his body, putting on 10 pounds of muscles and his legs being as strong as they ever have.
While his jumper looks more reformed as that was the first thing he could do following surgery, he shot down the notion that he will shy away from getting into the paint.
“I’m working on my shot, but you’re not going to label me as a shooter,” Rose said. “I’m going to be someone that can consistently hit a jump shot, but my game is always going to be driving.” He also stated that he hadn’t yet taken any contact to the knee since beginning two-on-two, three-on-three and one-on-one play. “I’m not afraid of that, though. I know that’s going to happen. That’s the way that I play. I’m not scared of taking a hit, though. At all.”
Despite the loss on Thursday, the Bulls head into the All-Star break at 30-22 and sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s great, man, knowing that they’re winning games,” Rose said. “It seems like they’re fighting for me out there, so I don’t have anything but respect for them, for how hard they’ve been working in practice and when they’re going out there working as a team.”
Many opinioned that late Feb. or early to middle of March would be when Rose would return, but the recent comments this week should show that there is no true timetable and him getting back onto the court will be decided upon when he feels ready to do so.