Derrick Rose Return: Chicago Bulls Star Wise to Keep Door Open for Comeback

Alex KayCorrespondent IApril 7, 2013

Mar 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (1) warms up prior to a game against the Indiana Pacers at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

Derrick Rose’s window to make a comeback is closing, but there’s still a chance—albeit small—that the superstar returns to the Chicago Bulls lineup at some point in the near future.

According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Rose denied rumors that he’s waiting until the 2013-14 campaign to begin play without a limit on his minutes. He went on to say that he’s still open to making a debut this season during the playoffs, as he’s willing to return as soon as he’s ready.

I wouldn’t mind [limited minutes] at all. Of course I want to play more. But it’s not that big. I’m going to play whenever I’m ready. I don’t care if it’s 15 or 40 (minutes). I just love the game too much. Like I said, I’m just waiting and praying about it. And hopefully I’ll be out there soon.

This is positive news for Chicago fans, as the Bulls are currently sitting at 42-33 and still fighting to nab a possible No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They could certainly use D-Rose back on the floor to help them lock first-round home-court advantage up, but this squad would just be lucky to have its star back at some point this year.

It’s been just over 11 months since Rose was last seen in action, when he infamously tore his ACL in the Bulls’ first-round postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers last April.

He’s been practicing and scrimmaging since mid-February, but he hasn’t been able to get past the mental hurdles of returning since being cleared by team doctors in March.

Without Rose, Chicago will be lucky to win a best-of-seven series. Coach Tom Thibodeau has done well to keep his team disciplined and playing elite defense, but the Bulls do not have the offensive firepower to seriously contend for a title.

If they were able to add a fully healthy and mentally ready Rose during the playoffs, it would give a huge boost to the Bulls' chances. Chicago is ranked No. 30 in the league in points per game (92.8), while possessing one of the best defenses (92.3 PPG allowed).

Rose instantly gives this team credibility and could push the Bulls into a 2011 Eastern Conference Finals rematch with the Miami Heat.

After that, as Kevin Garnett would say, anything is possible.