Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose meets with media prior to Monday’s game

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

By Sam Smith | 3.09.2015 | 8:30 p.m. CT

So, media members wanted to know Monday when Derrick Rose met reporters for the first time since his latest knee surgery, his third. Tell us, tell us; tell us!

Are you playing this season?

“The way I’m feeling right now,” said Rose, “it’s a good chance I’ll be back.”

There was nothing certain, and really there could not be given Rose said he’s still mostly doing rehabilitation work now and cannot jump. But he was shooting set shots on the court for more than an hour before the game with the Memphis Grizzlies, and it’s by far the most optimistic Rose has been about a return to play following any of his surgeries.

Just that they are discussed in plurals and graded by severity isn’t all that reassuring. But Rose Monday was as encouraging as possible given the circumstances. And the tenor of his remarks for about 15 minutes of questions ranging from the sublime to the absurd suggested he almost certainly would be playing before the playoffs unless there was some unexpected development.

“Good, a positive place right now,” Rose said initially when asked about how he was. “Just trying to keep it positive and get the most out of each day. Who knows (about the actual return); whenever I feel well. That’s when I’ll step back on the court. I think (it will be this regular season). That’s the plan. Whenever I feel right, that’s when I am going to (come) back.

“I’m not even thinking about (a timetable),” Rose added. “I’m thinking about getting the most out of every day. Right now I can’t jump, but I’m taking shots, getting in condition and just conditioning me leg, my quad and my hamstrings. It’s not (about) trusting my body; it’s trusting faith. I’ve been giving my life up to God a long time ago. So all this is out of my control. All I can do is roll with the punches and know that at the end I will be fine.

“I just know when I step out there I’m going to play the way I normally play, no pacing,” said Rose. “Throw caution to the wind, play normal. I put a lot of work into my body. This time around (I’m) working on balance a little bit more. Last time, I think, I stopped doing that in the beginning stage and this time I’m going to do that a little bit more and get the most out of it. Right now it’s all about getting the most out of my rehab. Every day getting the most out of it and making sure I am mentally healthy.

“Whenever I’m ready to step back on the court, that’s when I am going to step back,” said Rose.

Obviously, after a third surgery, though this one less invasive, it’s injudicious, if not impossible, to predict a precise return. But all indications from Rose are his rehabilitation is going according to plan; there have been no complications since the Feb. 27 surgery. It was projected then he could return in four to six weeks. While Rose would not commit to any date, he seems on schedule.

Rose agreed it was difficult initially to face surgery yet again, though he said no one could determine when the minor tear actually occurred and he could have been playing on it a month. It’s not uncommon with NBA players to be playing with a meniscus tear like Rose had since most don’t have regular MRI exams. Rose did because of his previous injuries. Rose said he has complete confidence in the current Bulls team and said teams often surprise and he considers this Bulls team better, for example, than the 2011 championship Dallas Mavericks.

There were some media attempts to provoke Rose, as there usually are, and in being asked whether it was time for the organization to move on without him Rose said it would be a mistake but his job was just to play.

“At first (I was depressed); you’re human,” Rose noted of the initial diagnosis. “You go through that process (of why again, why me) of thinking that, but (then realize) about how blessed I am, how everything in my life has changed for the good. This time right here it could be a blessing in disguise, give me enough time to really work on all the lingering injuries I had during the season and work on my body a little bit more.

“When I had the previous two injuries I learned from them; this time around I think I’m learning (as well). It was all about getting back on the court,” said Rose. “There was something they had to take out. I just wanted it (tear) out to be able to walk right. Get to rehab right away. Knowing I had an ACL injury, whenever you have a knee injury after that you’re always thinking, ‘It’s (another) ACL.’ But knowing it wasn’t, that’s a sign of a little relief. Just happy it wasn’t.

“I wouldn’t say I’m angry; there is nobody to be angry at,” said Rose of his fate. “I think I put the most into all my workouts, I think I put the most into coming back last time. That’s the only thing I can do. I feel good with how hard I’ve been working, I feel good with where the team is, I feel good with how I’m handling everything.

“I think the all the (Bulls) players injured know how good we are and once we come back and everyone is healthy (the chances the team have are good),” said Rose. “I’ve probably been playing on it for a month. I remember feeling something in Golden State (Jan 29). Who knows? That could have been a sign of something telling me something was wrong. Who knows when it happened?

“(There is) no pressure at all (to return quickly),” said Rose, “especially not with this team. We have a great team. If anything, my teammates are telling me to take my time and make sure I am healthy when I come back.

“It does feel great, just walking again and not feeling that pinch anymore,” said Rose. “Like I said, this can be a blessing in disguise. Trying to take my time, listen to my body, cheer on my teammates when I am out. Just try to better myself as a person, basketball player, businessman and as a teammate and try to stay positive.

I know something positive is going to come out of it, so take my time.

“The hardest thing is going to be (coming back) in condition,” agreed Rose. “First, I’m going to be out of shape a little bit when you miss so many weeks and days of basketball, but it comes with the territory. I’ll try my hardest. I’m killing every workout right now. Just condition wise will be the hardest thing. I want to (return before the season ends), but it’s all about how I’m feeling at the time. Really listen to my body and take my time. How I can be upset or devastated about anything? I know I have people out there that really love me and care about me as a person.

“If you know basketball, the year the Dallas Mavericks won nobody had them making it that far in the playoffs. Let alone winning a championship,” Rose pointed out about the Bulls lagging third in the East. “I think we’re more talented than they were that year. It’s all about getting us all on the court together, playing well; who knows when we are put up against that wall we may show something special.”

Rose was asked as the pregame session concluded about what if—and there’s never been any such internal suggestions but only outside speculation—about the Bulls choosing to play without Rose.

“It’s to each his own,” Rose said magnanimously as he generally deals with inciting inquiries. “If they feel they need to do that this is a business, too. I know the business side. I know they’ll be making a totally wrong mistake. But I’m not the owner, the gm or the president. I’m the player. My job is to go out there and try to play as hard as I can every night, try to win games and if they decided to do something different or go another way I can’t get mad at that.”

No one kept score, but it seemed like a triple double of an appearance.