Derrick Rose: Chicago Bulls Star Wise Not to Rush Return

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 12, 2013

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls laughs while warming up prior to the game against the Boston Celtics on January 16, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Derrick Rose has made it perfectly clear he won't return until he is fully ready to do so and that couldn't be a smarter idea for the Chicago Bulls star.

According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports, Rose is not ready to return from the ACL injury he suffered last season and he isn't planning on rushing it, either.

'I don't have a set date,' Rose told USA TODAY Sports on Monday in his first extensive interview since the 2012-13 NBA season began. 'I'm not coming back until I'm 110%. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready.'

How close is Rose to 110%?

'Right now, probably in the high 80s,' he said. 'Far away. Far away.'

As a team, the Bulls have done an incredible job without Rose, posting a 30-21 record as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. While they have struggled on the offensive end without their best scorer, the Bulls No. 3-ranked defense has more than helped make up for that.

Even without Rose on the roster this season, Chicago is a playoff-bound squad in a lackluster conference and could earn a home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

There's no question the Bulls are better with Rose on the floor, and when at full strength, this team can beat anyone in the NBA.

So if the Bulls do slip a few spots in the playoff race and fall to a No. 7 or No. 8 seed down the road, they can still make some noise in the playoffs once Rose returns to 110 percent.

That would make them an incredibly dangerous team for whatever top seed they would meet in such a first-round scenario. Granted, they'd have to play a tougher team much sooner than planned, but if the Bulls hope to win a championship, they'll have to beat the best in order to get there anyway.

In the event that Rose doesn't return at all this season, the Bulls' championship hopes would be all but gone. However, one more season without a championship is worth it in order to avoid Rose injuring himself more and missing another season.

The risk of losing Rose long term is far too great to bring him back before he's ready. Rose and the Bulls have done a great job handling his recovery until this point and must continue to keep the franchise's future in mind when deciding if and when to bring him back this season.