After missing all 90 of the Chicago Bulls regular season and playoff games, Derrick Rose might, finally, be ready to make his return.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld is reporting that the former MVP may suit up for Game Three of the Bulls second-round series with Miami Heat. The two teams will square off in Game Two on Wednesday night, with Game Three set for Friday night in Chicago.
According to Kennedy, Rose won’t necessarily play if he’s in uniform, but there’s a possibility he will be available “in case of emergency.” Even if Rose isn’t ready to play a lot of minutes, anything he can do might help Chicago.
The Bulls have been hit with a rash of injuries this postseason. Kirk Hinrich has missed the last four games with a calf injury, and complications from a spinal tap have kept Luol Deng out since Game Six against the Brooklyn Nets. Nate Robinson hasn’t missed any time, but he’s battled the flu and a laceration in his lip in the past week.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau has been forced to give his starters extended playing time because the team has been so depleted. Jimmy Butler hasn’t been given a rest in the past three games. He’s become just the fourth player in NBA playoff history to play all 48 minutes in three straight contests.
Despite being undermanned, Chicago took a 1-0 series lead over Miami with a win on Monday. The Bulls began the series as heavy underdogs and would pull off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory if they could beat LeBron James and the Heat.
Rose has never ruled himself out this season, calling it “up in the air” when asked if he would return against Miami. Some critics have been outspoken about Rose not playing, despite being medically cleared for two months.
Bulls center Joakim Noah defended Rose after the team’s Game One victory against Miami. Noah, who’s been fighting a foot injury, called it “unfair” to judge Rose.
The play of Iman Shumpert hasn’t helped the public perception of Rose. The New York Knicks swingman tore his ACL last year on the same day that Rose suffered his injury. While Rose has been out for 12 months, Shumpert returned in January and has been one of the Knicks best players this postseason.
Rose's initial recovery time was set for eight to 12 months.