DEERFIELD – The Bulls star Derrick Rose still has no target date for his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and he even indicated he might sit out the season.
In an interview with USA Today posted Tuesday, the three-time All-Star point guard said he’s “far away” from being ready to play. Rose has been practicing and traveling with the team, but he has no specific timetable for a return from an injury he suffered in the playoffs last season.
“I don’t have a set date,” Rose told the newspaper. “I’m not coming back until I’m 110 percent. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It’s just that I’m not coming back until I’m ready.”
He was asked how close he is to 110 percent.
“Right now, probably in the high 80s,” he said. “Far away. Far away.”
Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a playoff-opening win over Philadelphia, and the top-seeded Bulls wound up losing to the 76ers in the first round.
The Bulls’ point guard has granted few interviews since then, mostly limiting his comments to a shoe company campaign focusing on his recovery. He did not make himself available for comment on Tuesday.
The Bulls, meanwhile, have repeatedly said they are taking a patient approach with their superstar, that they won’t rush him back. As for Rose saying he could return any day — or next year?
“That’s what we’ve been saying all along,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s all the same. When he’s ready, he’ll play.”
He said Rose is “right where he should be” in his recovery.
“He’s right on schedule,” Thibodeau said. “When he’s ready, we’ll know. We’ll go from there. That’s why we’ve approached it the way we have. The team has to concentrate on their improvement and their next opponent. He has to do his rehab, and then at some point, he’ll rejoin us and we’ll go from there. Nothing has changed.”
Does he expect Rose to play this season?
“If he’s ready,” Thibodeau said. “To me, it’s why we’ve taken the approach that we have. There’s no timetable. It’s when he’s ready. We’re not measuring it against someone else’s timetable. It’s just this is Derrick. When he’s ready, he will go.”
It remains to be seen what type of player Rose will be once he returns. Even he’s not sure.
He said he’s added about 10 or 11 pounds of muscle along with some new wrinkles to his game, and he’s confident he’ll still be a top-tier player.
Thibodeau is, too.
“I see what he’s doing every day,” he said. “He’s coming along fine. He’ll be fine.”