Many people — myself included — suspected Derrick Rose might return from left knee surgery late this month or early next month.
That now seems very unlikely.
During a Monday interview with USA TODAY Sports, Rose said: “I don’t have a set date [for my return]. I’m not coming back until I’m 110 percent. Who knows when that can be? 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. … Right now, probably in the high 80s [percent]. Far away. Far away.”
That’s a bummer. But also not exactly unexpected. After all, Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf insisted last summer that Rose would not return until there was every medical certainty that his knee was ready: ”I’m not going to let him back until the doctors tell me that it’s absolutely safe for him to come back. I made that mistake with Michael Jordan years ago where I think we let him come back too soon. It worked out OK, but it might not have. This time I’m not going to make that mistake. Until the doctors say he’s 100 percent and they put their reputations on the line, he’s not coming back.”
Not surprisingly, Bulls general manager Gar Forman agrees with that assessment: “Every injury’s different. People want to pigeonhole exactly when he returns, and I understand that. “Everybody would like to know [when Rose will return]. We would like to know the exact date. But what we really tried to do was stay true to the process and not skip steps as he went along his rehabilitation. … We wanted to make sure we did what was right for Derrick.”
So there you have it. Rose will be out for a while longer. Maybe quite a while. Maybe out until next year.
But when he does come back, Rose expects to be much improved: ”I know it’s going to be something good. 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.”
Sounds like Muscle Watch 2012 has already begun.
In all seriousness, this is the best course of action. Even if Rose came back this season, it’s unlikely the Bulls could compete for a championship. Not unless the earth opened up and swallowed the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. And maybe not even then. So why take chances? When he finally does make his return, the Bulls and their fans will want him completely healthy and then some.