Derrick Rose's Return to Practice Gives the NBA What It Wants Heading into 2013

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 01:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls, injured in game one against the Philadelphia 76ers, stands in front of the Bulls bench during player introductions before Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 1, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Derrick Rose returned to non-contact practice and is set to travel with the Chicago Bulls, meaning his return seems imminent, although without a timetable.

Word is, however, that he should be back on the floor sometime soon after the All-Star break in mid-February.

With the Bulls looking like a top-four team in the Eastern Conference, even without Rose, it's looking more and more like they could turn into a dangerous team with Rose back into the lineup.

Obviously, returning from a torn ACL is going to be slow going, even now that he's back to practicing, but this is some of the most exciting injury-related news of the year.

The return of Rose would mean the return of the 2011 MVP, and potentially the propulsion of the Bulls into a conversation about the NBA Finals.

Chicago has gotten progressively better over the course of the season, as they've been forced to grow up and sustain themselves without Rose, and they've done more than that.

In the span of about six weeks we've already seen the return of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Eric Gordon to name the most important. Plus, we'll see Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, Andrew Bogut, Danny Granger, John Wall, Andrew Bynum, Avery Bradley and eventually Derrick Rose return to action sometime in the future, either near or far.

However exciting this season has been, the class of injured players is weighing on everyone's minds when they think about who the best teams in the league could be.

There are too many questions that remain unanswered throughout the league, thanks to the massive number of injured players. The trickling return of these guys back into action is slowly giving us what we all want, the most competitive league possible.

The peak of that will come with the return of Rose.

As one of the most dynamic players in the NBA, he's going to make it so we have a reason to keep an eye on the Bulls.

Without him, they're a fine team, but their offensive stagnation in almost every game tends to make them hard to watch—a problem Rose should be able to fix within the first month of his return.

If Rose is able to come back and really put a jolt into the Bulls' offense, with the time he's to be given to work his way back into action, the team could end up looking like a contender for the NBA Championship once again.

The fact is, whether you consider yourself a fan of the Bulls or not, seeing Rose return is terrific for the good of basketball. There are few players more exciting than he is.

Combine that with the return of so many impact players around the league and we're looking at an exhilarating 2013 portion of the NBA schedule.