When Derrick Rose started taking full contact in practice in January, it looked like the former MVP might change the complexion of the Eastern Conference.
Now, the Chicago Bulls point guard is warning fans that it might be a little while before he makes his return.
"I don't have a set date," Rose told USA Today. "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."
Rose’s comments come shortly after Tom Thibodeau stated that the team would not rush its star player back. The head coach told the media on Sunday that the club wants to be smart with Rose’s rehab.
The last time that Rose took the court in an NBA game was on Apr. 28. He tore his ACL in the Bull first playoff game of last year. His scheduled recovery time was initially set at 8-12 months, but Rose says he’s not close to being ready.
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"Right now, probably in the high 80s," Rose said, when asked if he is close to 110 percent. "Far away. Far away."
It often take players two years to fully recover from an ACL tear. Most recently, Iman Shumpert returned to the New York Knicks lineup after suffering the same injury in last year’s playoffs. He’s shooting less than 34 percent in 12 games, but shows similar athleticism from before this injury.
However, Rose believes that his rehabilitation might make him an even better player.
“With all this hard work I've been putting into my game, I'm doing stuff I never did before. I gained 10, 11 pounds of muscle. I don't know what type of player I'm going to be. I just know that I'm going to be very good."
Without Rose, the Bulls have been able to remain one of the best teams in the East. Chicago’s 30-21 record puts them just a half game behind the Indiana Pacers for first place in the Central Division.