Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose met with reporters Thursday for the first time since October to discuss his recovery from knee surgery last spring and whether he will play yet this season.
“It can be tomorrow where I feel I can play next game,” he told them. “Nobody knows but God.”
Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio knows what Rose is finding out: Only the player who is working his way through the pain and doubt that follows surgery to repair a torn anterior-cruciate knee ligament knows when it is time to play again.
Rose was cleared for full-court scrimmaging five weeks ago, but still — with the Bulls coming to Target Center on Sunday evening for their only appearance this season — hasn’t deemed himself ready to play yet because of soreness and a mindset where he says he’s still thinking rather than reacting on the court.
Rubio tore his ACL last March, about six weeks before Rose did the same in a playoff game. He returned Dec. 15 and game by game, week by week, slowly became the player he was before the surgery.
“It has been tough,” Rubio said. “I mean, you know your body more than anybody else, so you know when you’re ready. You know your body. When you feel ready, you have to go. If you have any doubts, you don’t have to go because it can be worse.
“The first month, it was tough because I was thinking if I rush it too much … I was feeling good but in my mind it wasn’t. It’s something you have to fight through.”
Rubio and Rose faced each other just once in last year’s lockout-shortened season, but he wouldn’t mind at all if Rose’s “it can be tomorrow” turns out to be Sunday.
“Of course, he’s a great point guard,” Rubio said. “I’d love to see him playing again. I enjoy him.”
Waiting for dunk show
Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko’s 20-point, seven-rebound night in Friday’s 117-86 victory at Phoenix suggests his healing calf is getting much better.
He missed nine games before returning a week ago.
“I still feel a little bit weak, but it’s getting better gradually with every game,” he said after Friday’s game. “Tonight you see like three, four cuts, which I haven’t seen the last three games. The explosion still is not there, but it’s getting better. When you see me dunking on a consistent basis, you’ll know. It’s going to bother me for another week probably.”
Bud is back
Chase Budinger followed Thursday’s return after four months away because of knee surgery by playing 16 ½ minutes Friday in Phoenix. He made four of nine shots — including 1-for-3 from three-point range —and scored 11 points off the bench.
He said he had to warm up the knee longer Friday because of soreness in it after playing his first game since Nov. 10 on Thursday.
“But it felt good, though,” he said. “Running up and down, making shots, it felt great. More importantly, I feel more comfortable taking off on it. My legs still get tired, still get worn down, but it’s part of coming back from injury. Once I get more legs under me, I’ll be fine.”