With doctors clearing Derrick Rose for full contact, it's a realistic possibility that we could see him on the floor this season.
But should we?
While it seems like a no-brainer on the surface, there are certainly cons to go with every pro to the decision.
It's been about 10 months since Rose tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, and as of today, the Bulls have gone 35-27 in the regular season without him.
Chicago must weigh the pros and cons of bringing back its star player for a playoff run in the East.
With Derrick Rose out of the lineup, the Chicago Bulls employ a point guard duo that's less than ideal.
Nate Robinson and Kirk Hinrich, though serviceable, is not a one-two punch that's going to make a substantial dent in a playoff team's defense.
Hinrich is playing 29 minutes, with Nate at 23 per game and Marquis Teague occasionally getting burn in short stretches as well.
While I respect Hinrich's leadership, he's shooting 38.5 percent from the floor while making only 2.5 field goals per game. And by now I think we all know that Robinson isn't a full-time player, lacking defensive discipline and offensive efficiency.
With Rose back in the lineup, he allows Chicago to maximize Hinrich's and Robinson's effectiveness by putting them in more complementary roles.
Injecting a guy like Derrick Rose into a lineup after a team plays 60-plus games without him isn't a seamless maneuver.
Rose is a ball-dominator. He averaged nearly 22 points per game last year as the team's go-to option down the stretch.
Without him, the Bulls have had to change their entire offensive approach. Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson aren't quite capable of offering the same services at the point guard position.
With him, everyone's touches will take a hit. The offense will have to adjust, and it's tough to complete an adjustment process overnight.
Having to go through the process right before the playoffs, or during the playoffs, is a tricky time to do so.
When looking at Chicago's biggest threats in the East, none have a point guard who can match up with Derrick Rose.
Rose typically has the mismatch against whoever suits up across from him, but the point guards in the East, particularly this year, happen to be below par compared to the rest of the league.
It would be nice to know that if Rose comes back for a playoff run, he won't be doing so going head-to-head against the game's elite point guards. He'd give Chicago an immediate upgrade and much-needed offensive mismatch.
Not every athlete can recover from an ACL tear like Adrian Peterson.
Just because Rose was cleared for full contact doesn't mean he'll be able to take it—both physically and mentally.
Right now we're seeing Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who suffered the same injury at the same time, really struggle to regain his explosiveness. He looks hesitant offensively and has been visibly less effective on the defensive side of the ball.
There's no point in bringing Rose back if it's going to take him time to regain his form. If Rose isn't the same Rose we all know and love, then Chicago might as well wait until he is.
If Derrick Rose does in fact return to MVP form, the Chicago Bulls become a championship contender.
At full strength, this is the only team in the East who truly poses a threat to the Miami Heat.
Defensively, the Bulls rank third in the NBA in points allowed and sixth in rebounding. Chicago is elite on these two sides of the ball, and it's what has them in position to reach the playoffs without its floor general.
But offensively, the Bulls rank No. 28 in points per game. Without the offensive firepower that Rose brings to the table, Chicago won't last in a seven-game series with a team like Miami.
With Rose in the lineup, he allows Luol Deng to slide down to the No. 2 scoring option, a more natural fit for his offensive services.
A healthy and effective Rose at least puts the Bulls in position to threaten the East in the NBA playoffs.
If Rose returns for the playoffs, there's going to be a sense of urgency considering the timing and stage he'll be playing on.
He's not going to get out there if he can't go 100 percent, and we've all seen Rose when he's 100 percent. Rose plays fast, and Rose plays aggressive. With his strengths all tied to his explosiveness, Rose's knees are the engine to his vehicle.
It would be sickening to see Rose re-aggravate his knee after taking the time and proper precaution to make sure he's ready for 2013-14.
If the NBA were to allow Chicago to cover Rose in bubble wrap, it would ease some of worries from fans and teammates.