Reports out of Chicago have been exciting for Derrick Rose and Bulls fans. The star point guard could be just "weeks away" from a return to the practice floor (according to what an NBA source told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times).
The timeframe for his return to an NBA game may still be up in the air, but just this news alone has to be comforting for a club still trying to find its way without its former MVP leader.
The temptation to hurry former Rose back from his April ACL tear exists for both the Chicago Bulls and their star point guard. With a sputtering offense and inconsistent performances from his replacement, Kirk Hinrich, coach Tom Thibodeau and company have surely gauged just how long they can wait for Rose to return.
Luckily for Chicago, they've played well enough (8-7) to keep themselves afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Credit their stingy defense (they've held opponents to 43.4 percent field-goal shooting, tied for seventh best in the NBA) and some lackluster play from their Central Division peers for helping to weather this storm.
Should their defense spring a leak, though, or those division rivals (namely Indiana and Milwaukee) embark on any lengthy winning streaks, the Bulls may have trouble retaining their playoff position. If either of those happen, then the temptations will greatly increase.
But it's in the best interest of the Bulls (and Rose himself) to make sure that this rehab process is given the necessary time to ensure the best opportunity for the player to return to his pre-injury form. Not only would a healthy Rose have the chance to lead his team to the postseason in 2012-13, but he'll keep them in the playoff discussion for years to come.
All statistics used in this article are accurate as of 12/3/2012.