It’s news that Bulls fans have been waiting to hear for the past month — Derrick Rose will be returning to the lineup tomorrow when the Bulls travel to New York to take on the Knicks in what is looking like a first round playoff preview.
Rose has missed 12 consecutive games and by missing Thursday’s showdown with the Celtics Rose made it 22 games this season the Bulls have had to gear up without him. But Rose says that this whole time, his sitting was not the doing of head coach Tom Thibodeau, it’s was 100 percent on Rose.
“It really [was] not up to him, it’s up to me,” Rose said. “Where if I’m feeling good, I’m going to play. If I think that I need some more days, I’m going to take some more days. But more than likely I’ll be out there.”
Rose has suffered three different ailments this season starting with a sprained toe he suffered in Minnesota followed by severe back spasms that seemed to nearly cripple him against the Bucks. Then Rose suffered a torn groin against the Knicks, an injury Rose recently revealed caused him to bleed.
Now that we can put to bed the fears that Rose would sit the rest of the season, the question is how Rose will perform when he returns. TO expect him to comeback and be flashy and rust free may be a little ignorant. But then again, Rose is the reigning MVP and is just 23.
“You won’t know until he gets out there because of the amount of time that he’s missed,” Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s never missed an extended amount of time like this before. But every other time when he’s come back, he gets up to speed pretty quickly. He’s been putting a lot of extra time in, so hopefully he’ll be ready once he’s out there.”
Thibodeau also went on to say that no one should expect Rose to play heavy minutes, which is excellent to hear considering how Thibodeau has sort of botched how to distribute minutes to his starters in certain situations.
“He’s missed quite a bit of time, so probably shorter minutes initially,” Thibodeau said. “Again, the important thing is we want to be smart about it.”
Rose’s return comes at just the perfect time. It was looking very tight in the race against the Heat for the top spot in the East. Miami pulled within 2 games of the Bulls but a win against the Celtics for Chicago and an embarrassing home loss for the Heat have put breathing room between the two.
Now that Rose is back, the Bulls can close out the East very soon. Chicago has two straight against a Knicks team sans Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire and then have a day off before traveling to Miami for a crucial showdown with the Heat.
Chicago plays the Heat one more time after that, exactly one week after their Thursday meeting.
Now that Rose is back it will not only allow the Bulls to get serious about closing out the Eastern Conference and locking up home court, but it will give Rose the better part of the month to work out the kinks and shake off the rust.
This is crucial if the Bulls want to make a run at a championship and be lethally full strength in the playoffs.