The 2011 league MVP has strengthen his body, he said, to the point where he’s excited about how he will perform when the knee is totally healed. He said he will begin cutting drills in two weeks, a key milestone in his recovery.
“I’m going to be a better player. My legs have never been this strong before. My upper body has never been this strong before. My core has never been this strong before. I’m going to see where it takes me.
“I can’t wait to get back on the court to see what I’m going to do. I don’t know how I’m going to play. I don’t know what’s going to be new about my game. It’s just going to be exciting for everybody to see.”
The Bulls do not want Rose questioned about his knee on a daily basis; it could be annoying. Rose, forever the leader, returned to Chicago from California to work out with teammates during voluntary workouts last month.
Still, because he is such a commodity, the Bulls will not allow Rose to return to action until they and he believe he is fully healthy.
“His games right now are the rehab,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’re going to talk about Derrick today. We’re not going to give daily updates as we go forward. I want the focus to be on our team and the opponent. I don’t want our team to be distracted. And I want Derrick’s focus to be on his rehab, where he’s doing great.
“You don’t lose a great player like Derrick without feeling that. But we can overcome that with our collective effort. At some point he will be rejoining the team and we’ll take our shot at the end.”
Rose said he has come a long way since the injury, physically and emotionally.
“Mentally I got stronger,” he said. “I think about the beginning of my surgery where I wasn’t able to walk or having someone assist me to the door or car. Seeing myself now, I’m going to be good. I’m not worried about it.”