Speaking on what could be the final day of the Chicago Bulls’ season, Derrick Rose said he’s unaware of outside criticism of his decision to sit out the season after May 2012 surgery to repair his torn left ACL and wouldn’t be bothered by it anyway because he’s listening to how his body feels.
“That’s my first time hearing about it,” Rose said Saturday of the critical fan contingent. “I barely turn on the TV. I’m with my son all day. So that’s about it.
“I’m feeling about the same, still being patient, still trying to take care of my body and just trying to enjoy this time and cheer on my teammates.”
Rose said there’s no benefit to announcing that he’s out for the season and said watching playoff games in street clothes has been difficult.
“It’s been hard,” he said. “But I’m able to get past it, knowing that my teammates are out there playing hard, giving the game everything they got. That’s all I can ask for.
“Who knows? It’s still in the air where I’m still trying to be positive and still trying to take care of my body.”
Rose said he hasn’t been pressured by the organization or teammates or coaches to play and is making the decision by himself. Asked about the perception that his inner circle of older brother Reggie Rose and agent B.J. Armstrong has influenced his decision, Rose acted incredulously.
“Who said that? If anything, it’s up to me,” Rose said. “My brother and them can’t tell me what to do with my body. They give me control. I’m in control of the whole process. It’s really all on me.”
Asked what the benefit of sitting the entire season is, Rose said: “Being healthy. Health-wise, if I do take the whole year off and don’t play anymore, I know I’m going to come back a better player. I guess my body will be healed more but who knows?
Rose said his body feels the same and he still is thinking rather than reacting when he plays.
“Still thinking. Still trying to take my time. Still the same old thing,” Rose said. “If anything changes, trust me, I’ll let you all know. It’s still the same.”
Rose was cleared for full-court scrimmaging on Feb. 18. The Bulls haven’t scrimmaged since March and rarely practice anymore, using walkthroughs and film sessions to review opponents.
“No one. I haven’t had any pressure anywhere,” Rose said. “You hear stuff. People say stuff. I have a lot of people text me, asking if I’m doing all right because I guess they’re paying attention to what’s going on in social media.
“I’m far from it. I rarely watch games. If it’s not our game, I rarely watch it. I know every team. I’ve been watching teams the whole year. There are good teams out there. I know basketball. I just got to get out on the court and play.”
Rose’s teammates and coaches have defended his decision throughout, most emphatically this week after TNT broadcaster and former Bull Steve Kerr said Rose “maybe owes it to his teammates” to play.
“It’s cool, man. It gives me some comfort,” Rose said of his internal support. “They see how hard I’m working in the gym, just putting my all into the game and sacrificing a lot of stuff to be a better player. Whenever I come back, I know I’m going to be way, way better. Just having that time to relax and be patient and fully heal, that’s the big picture right now.”