While all the experts are determining the fate of Derrick Rose and the Bulls this year, I have been saying the Bulls could be an eight seed or lottery team without our hometown star.
But then I saw the encouraging picture of Derrick Rose shooting a free throw.
Now, it's just a free throw. The feet don't move and it's a still picture, but suddenly the clouds broke for me.
The picture was supposedly taken at the Berto Center after the former MVP came back to California. I believe Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the medical staff of the Bulls, with good reason, will treat DR like a rare gem. But the scenario might play out like it did when Michael Jordan had his foot injury.
MJ came back when he felt he was ready. Jerry Krause and Reinsdorf, even though they had good intentions, discovered they couldn't tell Jordan what to do.
There are some differences, however. First, MJ had "Da foot" and D-Rose has "Da knee".
MJ was MJ -- total power even at a young age. D-Rose might be more inclined to listen, and maybe he should. But if he tells Reinsdorf that he's ready, I can see a disagreement developing.
Keep in mind, ownership has a huge investment, and so does the league. But with D-Rose's work ethic, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel for next year. Rose could be back for some regular-season games, then the playoffs.
Don't forget, we have a heck of a nucleus with Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng.
But as we learned in the playoffs last year, the nucleus of the team is good because of Rose.
I will no longer say on radio or in print that the Bulls can't be a force next year. Rose is the ultimate competitor, and no doubt will be back.
Do the Bulls play Rose at 85%? Should they sit him all year?
I think he comes back early, and the Bulls battle their way through the playoffs.
Can the Bulls win it all next year?
To me, it almost doesn't matter. Isn't getting Derek back in top form a win for us?
Yeah, the sun came out for Chicago on a cloudy day. D-1 one is back!!!
Legalized sports betting?
No surprise on your responses about legalizing sports betting in Illinois.
Fran O'Shea says yes and wants slot machines at Arlington Park, too.
Tony P writes that we should make it legal and you can create much-needed jobs for the state.
Chris from Arlington Heights says the return is too good to pass up, and thinks the profits would make a huge dent in our budget deficits.
It sounds like the readers have ways to figure out how to solve some of our money problems in Illinois -- maybe someone in government should listen.
• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit //www.northtonorth.com/index.shtml">northtonorth.com.