The Chicago Bulls enter their second round playoff series with the Miami Heat as heavy underdogs.
According to the BetOnline, Miami is a -3000 favorite to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, while Chicago’s odds of winning the series have been set at +1250. The one thing that could change those odds might be the return of Derrick Rose.
The point guard has sat out for the entire 2012-2013 NBA season after recovering from an ACL tear in last year’s playoffs. Despite sitting out for over a year, the Bulls have yet to rule Rose out for the rest of the year.
Following Chicago’s Game 7 defeat of the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, the 24-year-old couldn’t give a definitive answer as to whether or not he’d be able to play against the Heat.
"Who knows?" Rose said Saturday. "It's still up in the air."
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Rose may be giving the impression that there’s a chance he will return, but that may not be the case. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Rose has already decided that he won’t come back this season, even if the Bulls reach the NBA Finals.
“His choice has been made to sit out the season and it includes no provisions for turning back, sources with direct knowledge told Yahoo! Sports,” writes Wojnarowski.
Chicago has played surprisingly well, battling through a number of injuries. Not only did they win 45 games without Rose, but a number of their best players have been sidelined throughout the season. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah missed a combined 23 games in the regular season. In their series with the Nets, both Deng and Kirk Hinrich were forced to sit out the last two contests.
If Rose were to return against the Heat, the Bulls would still likely lose the series. En route to winning his fourth MVP award, LeBron James led Miami to 66 wins and just three losses since Feb.1.
However, with a healthy Rose, Chicago might have the best chance of any team to beat the defending champs. The Bulls went 2-2 against the Heat this year, and would be an even more difficult out in the playoffs with a former MVP in the lineup.
An official decision on Rose’s future has not been made public, but it appears the point guard’s return will have to wait until next season.