Nine months after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Derrick Rose returned to the basketball floor at the United Center in Chicago over the weekend. And the Chicago Bulls fans warmly embraced him.
Playing with Team USA in a blowout win over Brazil, Rose performed on the court where he was injured for the first time since Nov. 22. And the reception he received was heart-warming, he said.
“I’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” Rose said. “Probably, if this was a couple weeks ago, I wouldn’t have been emotional, but right now it feels great. We won the game so that’s the only thing I could be happy about — we won. We didn’t lose. If we had lost my whole attitude would have been different. Just take this win, go to New York and just try to keep this going.”
Team USA headed to New York this week to continue training for the World Cup.
Rose scored seven points in 24 minutes in his Chicago return Saturday, but the fact that he was out there at all after playing just 10 games in the past two years because of two serious knee injuries is what made fans so happy. Rose was the last player introduced before the game as fans roared and chanted “MVP!”
“I’m playing the way I normally play in the trials,” Rose said. “Push the ball, play defense and get guys shots. When the shot is available, take the shot, and I think that’s what I did tonight. I had one or two turnovers, but that could easily be changed.”
“It’s great to watch Derrick play again,” Bulls coach and Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way he played.”