CHICAGO – Derrick Rose still is not sure he’ll play this season, saying that at this point the obstacles are more mental than physical as he tries to return from knee surgery.
The Bulls’ star guard told reporters before practice Tuesday in Los Angeles that he can “do everything.”
“It’s just me having the confidence to do it. I’m just trying to feel normal. When I’m out there and not thinking and just reacting, that’s when I know I’ll be ready.”
He said he’ll return when he feels “normal” and added: “If that’s in a couple days, that’s great. If it’s not, I’m fine.” Rose also said there’s no cutoff date for him to return even though there are only 19 games remaining.
The Bulls have gone 35-28 this season without the former MVP point guard. Their next game is tonight at Sacramento, but coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose will not return against the Kings.
Rose spoke exactly 10 months after he had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. His status has been a running soap opera, but he says he’s felt no pressure from the organization to return and downplayed the idea that any rift has developed.
His brother and manager Reggie Rose ripped the Bulls for standing pat at the trade deadline in an interview with ESPNChicago.com, saying it could be a “big factor” in whether Derrick plays this season. Then, the website reported last week that Derrick Rose had been medically cleared to play but told the team he won’t until he can dunk with confidence off his left foot.
It all seemed to fuel the idea that the team and its star were not on the same page.
“Crazy, making up stuff,” Rose said. “Everybody assumes everything. I’m the last person that someone would have a confrontation with. I’m not trying to argue with anyone. Everything’s been great. It’s crazy all the stories that are going on that I know aren’t true.”
He also defended Reggie Rose’s right to speak his mind, whether he agrees or not.
“My brother is my brother, where I’m going to have his back, no matter what, so the comments, he just felt he had to say something,” Derrick Rose said. “That’s his opinion. I just felt the organization has been doing a great job of getting people around me, but he just had to get it off his chest.”
Rose said the mental hurdles didn’t catch him off guard. He said agent B.J. Armstrong prepared him for it and told him not to rush back.
“If I would rush back and something was to happen, everybody would say, ‘Why did you rush back?’ So I’m just taking my time and being prepared and knowing when I come back I want to be 100 percent,” Rose said.