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Maybe Derrick Rose's return to the Bulls isn't imminent, after all

Posted by: Michael Rand under Sports, NBA playoffs Updated: February 12, 2013 - 3:17 PM

Maybe we're a little spoiled here in Minnesota. Adrian Peterson's freakish return from his ACL injury ended with an MVP season. Ricky Rubio tore his ACL on March 9, 2012, and returned to game action a little more than nine months later on Dec. 15. He didn't really hit his stride until Jan. 26, about 10 1/2 months after the initial injury, but starting with that game he has scored at least nine points in nine consecutive games and is averaging 12.9 points and 9.1 assists in close to 32 minutes per game in seven February contests so far.

A lot of Chicagoans got excited when Derrick Rose was cleared for contact drills. The picture you see there is from this past Friday. But Rose, who tore his ACL on April 28 -- about 9 1/2 months ago -- told USA Today he is "far away. Far away" from returning to play in a game. From that story:

"I don't have a set date," Rose told USA TODAY Sports in his first extensive interview since the 2012-13 NBA season began. "I'm not coming back until I'm 110%. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready."

How close is Rose to 110%?

"Right now, probably in the high 80s," he said. "Far away. Far away."

The ambiguity is by design but not with duplicity intended. The Bulls have no reason to target a date. Rose, the humble star, is the face of the franchise and worth the patience.

"Every injury's different. People want to pigeonhole exactly when he returns, and I understand that," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. "Everybody would like to know. We would like to know the exact date.

"But what we really tried to do was stay true to the process and not skip steps as he went along his rehabilitation. … We wanted to make sure we did what was right for Derrick."

It helps, of course, that the Bulls are 30-21, firmly entrenched as an Eastern Conference playoff team and just 1/2 game back of Indiana for the Central Division lead. There's no need to rush. That said, Rose is going to want to test things on the court. And Rose at 90 percent seems like a piece that would be able to not only help the Bulls down the stretch but also someone who could work off that rust and get to 110 percent, as he calls it.

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