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Derrick Rose says he will ‘definitely’ be ready for Bulls’ season opener

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose

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Updated: August 17, 2013 6:29AM



LAS VEGAS – Derrick Rose told reporters at an adidas event in Spain that he would be ready for the upcoming season opener.

“I should be able to play in the first game of the season,’’ Rose said, according to HoopsHype.com.

It’s nice for the MVP point guard to make that statement, but the organization has been preparing for his imminent return since the season ended.

“I know I’m anxious right now to play,’’ Rose told reporters. “My health is everything right now, it’s 100 percent. But right now, the first game ... I will definitely be playing it.

“[Mentally] I’m just strong as I’ve been. I had the time to think about what’s important in my life, getting better on the court, watching a lot of film with [coach Tom Thibodeau], asking him questions, talking to him about two times a week. ... So he’s been kind of a professor to me.”

All good to hear.

But all known.

There’s a reason Mike Dunleavy Jr. took less money to play with the Bulls. A reason Nazr Mohammed was hoping the team would re-sign him to another season. A reason Carlos Boozer has been dropping pounds this summer.

“Well we’ve got DRose back,’’ Boozer said of his off-season workout program to shed pounds. “So our fast break is going to be a little faster to say the least. I want to be able to get up the floor with him.’’

Rose is not only expected back on opening night from the torn anterior cruciate ligament that cost him the entire 2012-13 season, but Thibodeau expects him back on the first day of the preseason practice.

The coach has a plan in place on how to ease Rose back, and it starts with making sure he’s confident that the knee won’t betray him.

“He was never quite comfortable enough to get out there,’’ Thibodeau said of Rose. “He did all that he could. He wanted to be out there. But he couldn’t get there. What the summer has done is it’s given him more time to build confidence and strength in his leg.

“You can’t be out the amount of time that he’s been out without going through an adjustment period when he comes back. We’re going to see what [Rose] can handle first. We’re not anticipating big limitations on him. But the preseason, that’s what that is there for.’’

If Rose’s knee can hold up, and the rest of the Bulls can stay relatively injury free, well, there’s a reason Vegas has the Bulls with the third-best odd to win it all right now, behind Miami and Oklahoma City.

“Our management made it very clear to us in the three years I’ve been here that they believe in our group,’’ Boozer said. “Obviously, our winning percentage [86 percent] when we’ve been healthy speaks for itself, when we’ve had our four guys [Rose, Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng], and Taj [Gibson], out there we’ve been extremely successful.

“Our management, our coaches, they believe in us. You know how the NBA is, if you don’t win changes get made. For our core to be together for these three years it lets you know how much our ownership, our management believes in us.’’



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