Derrick Rose

In the latest installment of Derrick Rose, the comeback (or the return), it seems as the Chicago Bulls point guard will be back in action for the NBA title hopefuls for the final week of the season, hoping to quickly get him back in shape before the playoffs begin.

Rose, who has played only 56 regular season games (46 of them this season) since his knee injury in the 2012 NBA playoffs, made what seemed to be a very decent return, most of it healthy and fit, to the courts this season, after his first attempt at a comeback in 2013 ended with a meniscus tear and getting shut down after only 10 games.

This season he has played in 46, averaging 18.4 points and adding 5 assists while shooting 40.7% from the field. This wasn’t vintage, MVP Rose, but the Bulls looked good with him on the floor and surrounded him with enough offensive talent so he wouldn’t have to play like the offense completely relies on him. However, since he’s gone missing with another (minor) meniscus tear, it’s been made clear how much they need him.

Rose hasn’t played since February 23. The Bulls have gone 10-10 during that stretch (dealing with quite a few other injuries as well), which hasn’t stopped them from remaining near the top of the Eastern conference, right now in place to finish third, which leads to playing the fading Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. There are worse matchups to be had.

Rose is a lot more confident, less hesitant, about his return this time, although the Bulls aren’t saying when exactly he’ll be playing his first game in six weeks.

If anything, I’m just trying to get my mental approach together so when I come back it won’t be like my previous times. I think I was away from the game too long during previous injuries, and with me missing five, six, seven weeks now, I think that my return is about to be smoother.

So what is clear? That Rose will be back before the playoffs begin, and that he’s not going to play his regular minutes (averaged 31 minutes a night so far this season). His injury didn’t happen because of his participation in the basketball world championship in the summer, but one has to wonder how the Bulls are feeling abou that extra risk now, not that it matters.

When Rose comes back he’ll be starting, and the Bulls are often better just because he’s on the floor. He’s going to play at full throttle because that’s who he has always been, but it won’t be for 30-35 minutes a night; more like 20-25 to start with, and they’ll take it from there. Seeing Paul George give a very good return game against the Heat is certainly promising, especially considering Rose, this time, hasn’t been out for that long.

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