Derrick Rose hopeful of a return this season

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CHICAGO—Derrick Rose was in good spirits on Monday when he addressed reporters for the first time since his February 27 knee surgery. No, he still doesn’t know when he’ll be back in action. But he’s optimistic that it will be this season.

“That’s the plan,” Rose said. “Whenever I feel right, that’s when I’m going to step back.”

Rose underwent surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee—the same knee he injured last year—and the Bulls put his timeline for a return at four to six weeks. The next day, he started rehab. It’s been a gradual process since then. He still can’t jump, but he’s focusing on conditioning.

“Right now it’s all about just getting the most out of all my rehabs,” Rose said. “Every day, getting the most out of every day, like I said. And making sure my mental is healthy.”

The Bulls are dealing with a bevy of injuries to key players right now, with Jimmy Butler (elbow) and Taj Gibson (ankle) also missing time. The Bulls need all of those players healthy in order to be a serious title contender, and they know that. But Rose is taking his time and not focusing too much on the playoffs right now.

“We haven’t talked about it,” he said. “But I think all the players that’s injured know how good we are once we come back and everybody’s healthy, but that’s something that we haven’t talked about because they’ve been on the road.”

Rose also knows better than to place undue expectations on himself. That’s burned him in the past, plenty of times. All he can do now is work on his rehab and make sure he’s healthy when he comes back. After all, that’s the point of this, right?