Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose may finally be back in action, and his return could come as soon as Game 3 against the Miami Heat this week.
The news comes via Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, who reports:
[Chicago] genuinely believe that Rose may be able to make his season debut at some point, possibly as early as Game 3 against the Miami Heat.
Word out of Chicago is that Rose may suit up for Game 3, which will be played this Friday. Suiting up doesn’t guarantee that Rose will play, but being in uniform on the bench rather than donning a suit would be a step forward for the 24-year-old. Nothing has been confirmed at this point, but it’s a possibility.
Rose has not played this season after tearing his left ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2012 NBA playoffs. However, with the star guard seen taking part in shootarounds before games and even declared fit to play by doctors, the elephant in the room has always been about when his return will ultimately come.
Now, with the Bulls beating the Brooklyn Nets in their first-round series and then taking Game 1 against the Miami Heat in their second-round series, that question has intensified—especially now that Rose may well fill every Bulls fan's dream and take the court for the rest of the 2013 playoffs.
To say that the Bulls would welcome Rose back is an understatement.
With a growing injury toll, Chicago knows that its chance of beating the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed in the Heat could well come down to the health and success of its star guard, who won the Most Valuable Player Award in 2011.
The Bulls are one of the few teams with a winning record over the Heat this year and showed in Game 1 that they can take down the title favorites. Nate Jones is one of many who feels Rose's teammates deserve more respect:
It's time to stop talking about Derrick Rose and start focusing on his teammates. So much respect for how hard those guys play.— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) May 7, 2013
Whether they can do that over a seven-game series, however, still remains to be seen, with the return of their star guard pertinent to any postseason success. HoopsWorld's Adam Kennedy agrees:
If this series is 1-1 going back to Chicago, all eyes will be on Derrick Rose.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 7, 2013
Rose was asked earlier in the week (via ESPN) about the current state of his injury and, once again, refused to specify as to when his return date would be.
[My status] is still up in the air. I might have a chance [at returning this year]. Everybody has their own opinion. The key words that he said is, 'if I'm ready.' Right now, I'm not ready, so I'm just trying to take my time and just really, really be smart.
It's definitely hard but I know that this will be over with pretty soon. Who knows when it's going to stop, but I can't just get down on myself. [My teammates] know that I'm putting everything I have on trying to come back as fast as possible. But just trying to be smart with the whole situation and just take my time.
However, fueled by heart, teamwork and resiliency, Chicago showed in Game 1 that it can beat the Heat even without Rose.
They've shown all season that even in his absence they are a tough team to break down and possess the ability to win big games, but having Rose back would be a significant asset.
One thing's for certain, though. If there wasn't already enough to watch for in the Bulls-Heat playoff series, there's definitely a storyline worth watching for now.
A storyline 12 months in the making.
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