MANILA, Philippines – After being out for more than a year, Chicago Bulls go-to-guy Derrick Rose is just itching to get back on the basketball court.
Rose, the NBA’s youngest MVP ever, tore his ACL in his left knee in the first round of the 2012 Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers and has not played since.
“As far as the game of basketball, [I’m looking forward to] just being on the court with my teammates. When you love something so much and you get away from it for a year and they continue to play the game around you, it’s kinda like a tease. The more you get healthy, the more you want to be out there but you still have to be patient, let your body heal,” said Rose, who was named league MVP in 2011 at just 22, during his Adidas DRose tour in Manila.
“I miss playing with my teammates especially with the core group of our team just standing out there playing hard, guys getting injured and playing through injuries so we could make it as far as possible in our season and we got to the second round I like to be in there with them fighting but at the same time I have a bright future. I think just being out there with them, that’s what I miss most.”
The Bulls, whose key players Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich were also hit with injuries, still managed to outlast the higher-seeded Brooklyn Nets in a seven-game series in the first round and even took Game 1 against the defending champion Heat before losing in five games in the second round of the 2013 Playoffs.
And with Rose fully-recovered, expect the Bulls to be one of the stiffest contenders to the Miami Heat’s three-peat bid this coming season.
“I think we have a great opportunity. I think the guys right now are getting ready. Eight guys in Chicago are back training right now. I think that’s kind of rare for eight guys to be back,” said the first overall pick by the Bulls in the 2008 Draft.
“They’re letting me know that they’re getting ready for a big year while I’m here training being out on the road, I have to prepare myself too because for me being one of the leaders on the team I have to come back and lead by example, be in shape, be the first one to come in practice, be the last one to leave. And just let them know that I care about the championship probably more than they do,” added the 24-year-old Rose, who gave the Filipino crowd a reminder of his explosiveness when he gamely played three-on-three against PBA players Chris Tiu, JC Intal and Josh Urbiztondo at the Araneta Coliseum.
‘‘That ‘s our goal, just to win a championship. We’re going to take it game by game. I think that’s where the team gets in trouble when we worry about the playoffs early in the year. Getting the team chemistry and just go out there together and play for the city of Chicago.’’