Derrick Rose, more than 14 months removed from his last NBA game, has a plan for his October return to the Chicago Bulls.
“There’s only one goal, and that’s to win a championship,” he told Bulls TV in a video interview published Wednesday.
The 2010-11 NBA MVP missed all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Rose drew ire from fans and detractors alike for skipping an entire season, particularly as the Bulls lost to the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs. He had been cleared by doctors to play but never felt comfortable.
That’s going to be different for next season, which he plans to be ready for.
“Me saying it is something totally different,” Rose said. “Me going on the court and showing them will let them know it was the right decision.”
That decision involved practicing regularly with the team, including throwing down a few dunks. But Rose repeatedly said he wouldn’t come back until he was fully healthy and playing at the level he’s come to expect from himself.
He said practices with the team went well but didn’t replicate the hard defense NBA opponents would throw at him, including double-teams and physical play.
“I’m not a selfish guy at all, but having this injury and knowing what I had to go through and knowing that I had to be smart, this is something that I had to be selfish with,” Rose said. “I couldn’t worry about anyone else but myself and my health.”
Rose has spent most of the past year away from the news media as well as the court. He broke his silence during the season in an exclusive February interview with USA TODAY Sports but talked little after that. While teammates and coaches fielded questions, Rose split his time between rehab and fatherhood.
“I didn’t want to do anything, to tell you the truth; I didn’t want to talk to anyone,” Rose said. “I just wanted to rebuild my leg and be around my son. It’s a time where me having a son is huge for me. It’s real big. My father wasn’t ever in my life, so he’s first now and with anything.”