It hasn’t started yet, but it will soon. It doesn’t matter what anybody has said in the past, or what they may be saying about it now, the question is going to be asked?
Will Derrick Rose return this season?
I have no idea. Personally, I hope not. I’m still holding out hope that the Bulls can move guys like Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy to put this pointless season to an end, and slide down out of the playoffs and into the lottery (Marquis Teague’s return is a good start). What I want is for the Bulls to get a lottery pick, amnesty Carlos Boozer, pay for Nikola Mirotic to come over, have a healthy as can be Derrick Rose back and get to work next season.
Instead what I’m going to get is the Bulls treading water in the middle of a terrible Eastern Conference long enough to make people wonder if Derrick Rose could return before the end of the season and immediately transform this now Luol Deng-less Bulls team into a contender. And today is the day the shift in that direction begins.
Guess who is back with the team and traveling on the road trip? That’s right, the same guy who just got off crutches. And everybody is so happy to have Derrick around. Just ask Kirk Hinrich.
“We like having him around,” Hinrich said of Rose. “He’s a very enjoyable person. It’s good to have him around. He seems like he’s in a good place. It would be better to ask him. He seems fine and we definitely enjoy having him around.”
But is Hinrich happy to have Derrick around?
Seriously, Kirk Hinrich’s repetition aside, Taj Gibson’s quotes are what have me seeing visions of the early return question.
“It’s a good sign,” says Gibson. “He’s walking — just that alone is a good sign, showing that his improvement and his strength and conditioning is kicking in and it’s going at the right time and the right speed.”
“Every time I see him I know he’s in good spirits. He calls my name from a distance whenever I come in. He’s like ‘Wu. Taj. What’s up? He’s in good spirits. On the plane it’s like back to normal because I’m the one that’s always like freaking out and he’s back to his normal self looking at me like, ‘Calm down.’ It’s amazing the strength and conditioning part for his lower body — it’s moving so fast. I didn’t think he’d be able to crush it so easy.”
Yep, here comes Derrick Rose and his magical healing powers yet again. Now, Taj Gibson is not a doctor, but when he says things like that it’s only a matter of time before one of the people standing in front of him, shoving a digital recorder in his face begins to wonder “is Derrick’s rehab ahead of schedule?”
It might be, but I don’t care. The Bulls announced right after Rose’s injury that he would miss the rest of the regular season, and no matter what happens in his rehab, that’s the plan they should stick to. For all I know, that may in fact be the plan no matter what happens.
But should the Bulls hang around in the playoff hunt long enough, the cries for Rose’s return will return.
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