The regular season is winding down, and so is the window of time for Derrick Rose to make his return this season. But Rose, who had right knee surgery on February 27, spoke to reporters in Toronto today and said he’s expecting to be back before the playoffs and could be cleared for contact as soon as next week.
From the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson:
Derrick Rose said he expects to be cleared for contact either this week or next and remains confident he’ll return from arthroscopic right knee surgery this season.
“Oh yeah, I’m not worried about that,” Rose said. “I’m feeling good. I’m trying to do all the right things. Put all the positives in the bag and just try to go with it. It’s something that I’ve been doing for a long time. Rehab is definitely a grind. But I’m getting used to it.”
Rose had a small piece of his right meniscus removed on Feb. 27. The Bulls estimated his return to action at four to six weeks. Friday marks four weeks since the surgery.
“Should be sometime this week or next week,” Rose said when asked about taking contact. “Gotta talk to (Director of Sports Performance) Jen (Swanson) and go from there.”
Rose also said he isn’t currently experiencing any pain in the knee:
Rose on whether he’s confident he’ll play this season: “Oh yeah. I’m not worried about that. I don’t have any pain.”
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 25, 2015
This is certainly good news for the Bulls, who seem to be getting healthy at the right time. Jimmy Butler returned from an elbow injury in Monday’s win over the Hornets, and Taj Gibson played for the first time in 10 games on Friday in a win over the Raptors. Getting Rose back before the start of the playoffs would, obviously, be huge.
The Bulls have a pretty soft schedule the rest of the way, but the game to circle for a possible Rose return is April 5 in Cleveland. That will mark just over five weeks since the surgery, which was originally given a four-to-six-week recovery timeline, and would give Rose five additional games to play his way back into shape before the start of the playoffs.
What Rose actually looks like when he does come back remains to be seen. This season, he’s been up-and-down. He’s had games where he’s looked like the player who won the league’s MVP award in 2011, and games where he’s shot horribly and looked hesitant to drive to the basket. That’s to be expected from someone who’s had multiple major knee surgeries in the last three years, and this will be Rose’s first healthy playoffs since 2011 (he tore his left ACL in the first game of the Bulls’ first-round series against the Sixers in 2012). That’s a completely different level of intensity. If he can get back to some semblance of his old self, the Bulls are suddenly dangerous in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.