In his first extensive interview since undergoing surgery to repair his left anterior cruciate ligament, Derrick Rose told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt that he doesn’t have a set date to return to the court and that he won’t return until he’s 110 percent.
“Who knows when that can be?” Rose said. “It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready."
Rose also went on to say that he’s probably in the high 80’s and insisting "Far away. Far away."
The 24-year-old has spoken twice this season, once during the team’s annual Media Day and again at a Bulls Christmas event in December.
The framework that was set before the season begin was to have Rose focus on his rehab and the team on its improvement.
Many have speculated Rose’s return coming as early as after the All-Star break and as late as next season.
With a fan base starving to see him back in uniform and a chance to help make the Bulls much more dangerous going into the postseason, Rose himself is excited about the player he will when he is ready to make that move.
"I know it's going to be something good,” Rose said. “With all this hard work I've been putting into my game, I'm doing stuff I never did before. I gained 10, 11 pounds of muscle. I don't know what type of player I'm going to be. I just know that I'm going to be very good."
Rose's comments didn't surprise Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and despite him saying he's only 80 percent --when most felt his return is imminent right after All-Star break and Minnesota's Ricky Rubio and New york's Iman Shumpert (suffered a torn left acl the same days as Rose) have already returned to play -- nothing has changed in the process to get him back.
"He’s right where he should be. He’s right on the schedule," Thibodeau said. "When he’s ready, we’ll know and we’ll go from there. That’s why we approached it the way we have. The team has to concentrate on its improvement and next opponent and he has to do his rehab. At some point he’ll rejoin us and we’ll go from there. Nothing has changed.
"There is no timetable. It’s when he’s ready," he continued. "We’re not measuring it against someone else’s timetable. This is Derrick; when he’s ready, he’ll go."