The second comeback for Derrick Rose appears to have a much better feel than the first one.
A second knee injury in less than two years has limited the Chicago Bulls star point guard to a total of 10 games and 311 minutes played, but a new report suggests there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Rose, who suffered the injury in late November, could return to action sooner than expected. He has been jogging on a treadmill and could return this season, though Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has stated that Rose is nowhere near to practicing.
According to ESPN's Michael Wilbon, while no one in the Bulls organization has spoken a word publicly about Rose’s rehabilitation efforts or when he will next see the court, the team and Rose have taken a different approach to this second comeback. The 25-year-old former MVP was recently spotted running a shooting drill before Chicago’s game against Golden State on Thursday.
Rose is reportedly voraciously studying game film like never before, and he’s especially privy to the nuances and tendencies of such rising college stars as Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis.
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Thibodeau is also quizzing and treating Rose more like a veteran player or assistant coach, the report states.
In his 10th game back from the torn ACL that ruined Chicago’s title run in 2012 and kept him out all of last season, Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22 and has been rehabbing ever since.
A torn meniscus is actually a far more common injury, and takes less time to heal. This season such stars as Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and New York’s J.R. Smith have suffered a meniscus injury, and rest and time away from the court seem to be the best remedies, along with rehab.
The Thunder are taking a more careful approach with their young star, who hasn’t played since undergoing surgery after Christmas with no clear cut timetable for his return.
After signing a new contract, Smith underwent surgery for his meniscus injury this past summer, and has struggled on both sides of the floor. He’s shooting a career-worst 39.1 percent from the field.
In OKC’s case, they have Kevin Durant to carry the offense. The Knicks have Carmelo Anthony.
The Bulls have no second scoring superstar to make up for the loss of Rose, and have plummeted to 30th in the league in scoring (92.1 points per game), once again falling back on Thibodeau’s defensive schemes to remain in the playoff hunt.
Even with Rose out, the Bulls are only a game below .500, good enough for the No. 6 seed in the East. And that’s after trading Luol Deng to avoid luxury taxes. Much of the credit belongs to All-Star center Joakim Noah, and the recent stellar play of five-year veteran point guard D.J. Augustin, who averaged 16.1 points and six assists per game in January. The Bulls went 11-4 during that stretch.
For now, the Bulls will continue to hold out hope that Rose comes back wiser and healthy. Whenever that may be.