The days of being listed as day-to-day, participating in full-contact practices and showing up for pregame shootarounds only to watch the game from the sideline in a suit are gone.
It must have felt longer than one season for Bulls fans waiting for Rose to come back.
All of that speculation can now be laid to rest.
Not only is Rose back, but he is subtly putting the basketball world on notice about what to expect.
In an article by reporter Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Rose talks about the state of his morale:
"The thing that changed in my game the most, I would have to say, is my confidence level and knowing that I put so much into my craft,’’ Rose said at a promotional event Sunday at the United Center. ‘‘I’m working hard. I think I’m one of the hardest workers in the NBA, if not the hardest worker, and I think you should see it in my game when I step on the court."
As for his health, SLAM Magazine’s Adam Figman quotes Rose as saying he expects to be quicker, stronger and a better shooter this season.
Has one of the league’s most explosive and athletic players really improved on what he already does so well?
That postulation should be enough to get any fan’s engine revving, but even more exciting is what all of these factors will bring to some of the marquee match-ups that are going to take place.
The 2013-14 season is shaping up to be a great show for basketball enthusiasts.
Now that appetites for highlights have been thoroughly whetted, let’s look at some opponents that will push Rose to the edges of his evolution.