After nearly nine months of rehab and speculation, Chicago Bulls fans may soon see star point guard and former NBA MVP Derrick Rose back on the hard wood.
During an interview on ESPN radio show “Mike & Mike In The Morning,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said he wants to get Rose back in practice, and he could rejoin the team full-time in the second half of the season.
Last season, Rose tore up is anterior cruciate ligament in late April during Game One of Chicago’s first-round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.
At the time, Rose was Chicago’s leading scorer and assist man, and had the Bulls poised for a deep run in the playoffs. He had surgery in May to fix the tear, and was expected to miss eight-to-12 months.
Thibodeau said Rose’s rehab was right on schedule, but Chicago will not rush him back. The Bulls have stated they will not allow their superstar to return to the court until he is 100 percent healed.
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Earlier this month, Rose was spotted running and cutting at the team’s training facility, but Chicago wouldn't set a timetable for his return.
Typically, the second half of the season is considered after All-Star weekend, which will take place from Feb. 15-17. That would leave a 30-game window for Rose to get his legs back, and for the Bulls to work him back into the flow of an offense that sorely misses him.
The Bulls are 14-10 and atop the Central Division, but are 27th in the league in scoring -- posting 92.8 points per game. Chicago has utilized guards Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, and Marco Belinelli in Rose's absence, with Hinrich leading the team in assists at 5.3 per game.