Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has been medically cleared to return to the team after ACL rehab, but said his hamstrings have been “on fire” after participating in full contact practice for the past month, drawing concern.
Rose told ESPN’s Doris Burke before Sunday’s 90-81 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers that he has been participating in 5-on-5 drills, but would not return to the Bulls starting rotation until his hamstrings stop giving him issues.
ESPNChicago.com reported on Friday that one of the reason Rose has delayed his return to the court is because he still having trouble dunking off his surgically repaired left knee. A team source told the website that the Bulls are not pressuring Rose to return, but they remain confident that he will return sometime in mid-March, which would mark 10 months after his surgery.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Sunday. “For us right now the guys that are playing have to concentrate on their improvement and our next opponent. Derrick has to concentrate on his rehab. And until that changes that’s the way it has to be and that’s the way we’re approaching it.”
The Bulls could surely use Rose’s scoring right now. Last season, the former NBA MVP averaged 21.8 points per game to go along with 7.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds. The Bulls are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference standings and have gone for 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Rose’s game is largely based on his explosiveness, hesitation moves and his ability to cut and change directions to get to the basket and score. Rose’s doctor has assured the Bulls that there is no more chance of him getting hurt once he returns. But for now, Rose is learning to trust his body psychologically before he makes his return debut.
However, Rose did participate in Sunday’s pre-game shootaround, which is a sign that his return could be in the near future.