Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose set to return in Miami

After missing three games with leg issues, Rose looks to regain his form quickly

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By Sam Smith | 3.1.2016 | 3:10 p.m.

Rich people can’t really understand, as much as they may try, what it’s like to be poor. White people cannot fully understand what it is to be black. Healthy people cannot understand what it’s like to be ill, and those who have not gone through multiple surgeries cannot appreciate what it is to have done so, what it does to your body and your mind.

For instance, when you are someone like Derrick Rose and not only endured the multiple surgeries at such a young age and when you seemed on the verge of career brilliance, but when faced with the loss of your career. It’s one thing to lose your avocation; it’s very different to lose what you are most passionate about.

Rose is scheduled to return tonight when the Bulls face the Miami Heat.

Rose has missed 10 games this season, including the last three with hamstring and leg issues. In another injury plagued season for the team; only Taj Gibson has played in every game. But for Rose it’s been something of a recalibration to have the best chance of assuring he has a rest of his career, which also is vital for the Bulls. A healthy Rose along with Jimmy Butler, who has played the same number of games as Rose, gives the team its only chance to sustain success this season and next before Rose’s contract expires.

So Rose is taking the long view, which is both conservative and welcome.

Derrick Rose with additional surgery is as bad for the Bulls as it is for Derrick Rose.

So when warning signs appear, like pain or discomfort, Rose isn’t closing his eyes to it as he once did, the signals ignored previously before two meniscus surgeries and the ACL tear. When flashing lights of his body’s aches start clanging, Rose isn’t making that dash across the railroad tracks again.

“I just have to deal with reality,” Rose said Tuesday after Bulls morning practice in Miami. “The reality is I had surgery. I had injuries. This is something I have to live and play through. Try to get on the court as quick as possible. I’m anxious (to recreate) the way I’ve been playing before I sat out. It’s all about trying to build back to that point.

“It’s all a learning experience,” said Rose. “The last few times when I was injured, I was just trying to push. This time when I came back, I think my mental was different where I know it’s a process and I know where I want to be at the end of the year as far as the team and myself individually. Like I’ve been saying, it takes patience. You drive yourself crazy if you really think about it. I’m good. I’m at peace with myself and I know that I’m rebuilding.”

So the process continues, and with that the fate of the Bulls, at least for this season.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said they will closely monitor Rose Tuesday, take him out quickly after a first segment—Hoiberg was saying if Rose plays and Rose was saying he would—and then hope he gains a second wind quickly.

Not only for Rose, but for a Bulls team at 30-28 that is on the verge of falling out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference and the playoff race.

“For him, it’s going to be getting his timing back, his wind back,” said Hoiberg. “We’ll get him out pretty quickly after that first stint and hopefully he’ll get his second wind. Now it’s all about monitoring him and getting him healthy and to stay healthy through the rest of the season.

“It’s important (Rose’s return) for our guys,” said Hoiberg. “He obviously gives us a downhill presence, which we haven’t had the last couple of games. We’ve had good movement, but it’s been more with cutting and moving as opposed to driving the ball to the rim. That’s what Derrick gives this team, the ability to get into the paint, draw help and kick out to shooters. It gives us a good option. What we’ve done in late games is run a lot of two-man games with Derrick and Pau (Gasol) and that gives you that option back as well.

“He was playing at a very high level, his best basketball this season (before the latest setback),” Hoiberg noted of Rose averaging 22 points and six assists in February. “So that’s a tough thing. Now after sitting out and not being able to do a lot of conditioning besides the bike and pool, it’s about getting his timing and wind and nothing simulates that game type action. So it will take a little while to get that timing and rhythm back. Derrick has played at a high level his whole career, so we are confident it will come fast.”

But for Rose it’s also the understanding of what he’s been through with literally years of painful and slow rehabilitation, the loss of what many would say were the prime years of his career. He’s anxious to have that career back, and the Bulls know they need it as much he does.

It didn’t work the other way; so it’s time to try another way.

“I’ve been through so many injuries, it’s a process,” Rose said. “Of course I want to be at my peak right now, but it takes building; it takes putting all the work back in, it takes patience. Getting rehab, treatment and just allowing your body to react in its own little way. I have to be patient. I wouldn’t say (I had) pain. It’s discomfort. I had one little bad spot that was sore. I just wasn’t used to it. I have to rebuild and be patient.

”Of course, I want it back as soon as I step on the floor,” said Rose as he has to maintain his own internal governor against his historic instincts. “It takes actually game shots, game reps. That’s what I’m building on. I think I’ve been doing pretty good this year as far as managing myself, as far as putting my game together.

“I got over (the impatience) like two years ago,” Rose said with an ironic laugh. “I love where I’m at. Of course, I would want the team to be in a better place as far as positioning in the playoffs. But this is the bed that we made. We have to go out and play hard and make this push for the playoffs.

“Nobody knows the player I’m going to become in the next couple years,” Rose said. “Nobody knows what I’m going to look like at my peak. I still have to add some things to my game as far as getting to the line and being a threat every time I touch the ball.”

The point is nobody knows what it’s like.

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