The 2012-2013 NBA season is almost over, and Derrick Rose has still yet to play in a game.
The Chicago Bulls have been waiting for the point guard to return since he tore his ACL in last year’s playoffs. Rose is medically cleared to take the court, but has stated that he’s unsure when he’ll come back.
"I really don't know right now," Rose said after Thursday’s shootaround. "I don't want to place no percentage on it, but I just know that I'm close and I'm taking every day serious and just becoming a professional."
Rose still won’t give a target date for when he might suit up.
"I feel like when I'm ready to come back I'll be ready no matter what it is. ... Whenever I'm ready, I'm going to be out there."
The former MVP told reporters that he’s not panicking and being patient with his return. He’s also indicated that he might be even better when he plays again.
"I'm way stronger. Way stronger. I'm just seeing how I'm going to put that in my game."
Rose has received some criticism for not coming back, but the 24-year-old has received the support of his teammates and head coach. Tom Thibodeau has publicly stated that Rose shouldn’t come back until he’s ready.
"It's big, man,” Rose continued. “When I've got my teammates behind me and they see how hard I'm pushing in practice and I'm seeing how hard their fighting for me on the court, it makes me want to go harder. It makes me want to be out there more, but you've got to look at the big picture."
There are 15 games left on Chicago's season, with the postseason scheduled to start on April 20. The Bulls have all but clinched a spot in the playoffs, and currently hold the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Even if Rose is ready for the postseason, Chicago might not have much of a chance to reach the NBA Finals. The Bulls would likely have to go through the Miami Heat, who have won 24 straight games. The Bulls and Heat have split their two meetings this year.