By Mike McGraw
There is nothing wrong with Derrick Rose's instincts off the basketball court.
Sensing Bulls fans are anxious for concrete news about his comeback, Rose spoke to Bulls beat reporters following Tuesday's practice at UCLA. His comments are taken from reports by espn.com and csnchicago.com.
"Right now, I'm feeling about the same, where my leg is getting a lot stronger," Rose said. "I'm just trying to be patient. I think I can do everything. It's just me having the confidence to do it. It's just me feeling normal."
Asked if he plans to play this season, Rose is still uncertain. At least, that statement backs up Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau's often-repeated line, "When he's ready, we'll know it."
"I really don't know," Rose said. "I'm just like you all, where I'm just waiting for that day where I feel normal. Until then, I will just wait. I'm just coming back when I feel normal. If that's in a couple of days, that's great. If not, I'll be fine."
Rose's return has recently taken on a life of its own, with tidbits of information leaking out here and there. A report suggesting Rose has been medically cleared to return to game action was taken by some as a sign he's being pressured by the Bulls to start playing.
Rose tore the ACL in his left knee last year on April 28, with surgery performed by team physician Dr. Brian Cole on May 12.
"I haven't had any pressure from the organization or anyone to push me out there and just play," Rose said. "My teammates have been doing great with just playing hard for me. They're still out there playing hard, fighting, so that's a good sign, and we're winning games. So, I'm not worried about anything right now."
On Sunday when the Bulls lost to the Lakers in Los Angeles, there was a report during the ABC broadcast that Rose said his hamstrings have been "on fire" after recent workouts.
"(The hamstrings are) just waking up," Rose said Tuesday. "They're getting a lot stronger, but they're coming along. I'm moving in the right direction, haven't taken any steps back, so that's a good thing.
Rose was also asked about comments made last month by his older brother Reggie, criticizing the Bulls for not making any moves before the trade deadline. Reggie Rose's comments caused many to wonder if Derrick is also frustrated by the direction of the Bulls. They lost four valuable reserves off last season's team.
"It's crazy. I hear about it, but I try not to pay attention to it," Rose said. "Crazy, making up stuff. Everybody assumes everything, man. I'm the last person someone would have a confrontation with. I'm not trying to argue with anyone or anything. Everything's been great. It's crazy. You hear all the stories that's going on and none of them are true.
"I've just been focusing on rehab and my son. I just try to stay positive, think about other stuff. When I'm at home, just try to be around my son as much as possible.
"My brother is my brother, where I'm going to have his back, no matter what. So the comments, he just felt he had to say something. That's his opinion. I just felt the organization has been doing a great job of getting people around me, but he just had to get it off his chest."
Rose said his agent, former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong, advised him not to come back until he's feeling 100 percent healthy. Some would argue that Rose won't get to 100 percent until he starts playing, because it's impossible to replicate the intensity of an NBA game during practice.
Rose spoke to local reporters on Oct. 1, the day before training camp began. He's been quiet since then, doing an interview with USA Today before the all-star break, then speaking to Bulls reporters after a game in Boston on Feb. 13.
"I don't have a date, to tell you the truth. I haven't even really thought about it," Rose added. "Like I said, I'm just taking my time. I haven't taken any steps back. I'm moving forward, I'm getting stronger every day. I did every workout possible. My workouts are getting a lot easier, but I'm moving in the right direction.
"When I'm out there and I'm not thinking, I'm just reacting, that's how I know I'll be ready. I just think with any surgery, mentally you're just going to have to get over that hump. That's what I'm doing now, where I'm able to play, but just getting over that hump (is a challenge). I should be fine."