Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed that star point guard Derrick Rose will return Wednesday night from his most recent knee injury when the team faces the Orlando Magic. Rose has not played since late February, when team doctors discovered a tear in the 26-year-old’s right meniscus.
Rose is expected to play for about 20 minutes in his first game back from a meniscectomy to repair the knee injury, ESPN reports. Thibodeau said Rose will ease back into the team’s offensive game plan.
“Just him being on the floor is a plus for our team,” Thibodeau said. “I’m not expecting him to play 35 minutes. I’m not expecting him to score 30 points. Just go out there, run the team, play to your strengths, cover up your weaknesses, make your teammates better. That’s all I want him to do.”
The Bulls have earned a 10-10 record since Rose last played on Feb. 23. Rose expressed relief Wednesday that he was able to return to the team before the NBA Playoffs start on April 19. Chicago currently holds the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I’ve been putting a lot of work in, busting my a-- to get back and I’m just happy that I’m able to come back to a team where I think we’re playing all right basketball. I think defensively we’re playing good, so offensively I shouldn’t have to worry about it, just come back and play the way that I normally play,” Rose said.
Rose has missed significant portions of the last two NBA seasons due to leg injuries. He played just 10 games in 2013-14 when he first tore his right medial meniscus, USA Today Sports reported.
Rose averaged 18.4 points, five assists and 3.1 rebounds in 46 games for the Bulls this season. Chicago has five remaining regular season games this season.