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Derrick Rose: 'Good Chance' -- But No Assurance -- On Return This Season

By Cody Westerlund-

CHICAGO (CBS) – Bulls point guard Derrick Rose believes there's a "good chance" he returns this season after undergoing surgery on Feb. 27 on a tear in his right medial meniscus, but he stopped short of giving assurances when pressed multiple times on the topic.

The Bulls announced a recovery timetable of four to six weeks for Rose – which would have him back in late March or mid-April – but Rose isn't putting a timeline on his return. Speaking Monday evening for the first time since his surgery, ahead of the Bulls-Grizzlies game at the United Center, Rose said "Who cares?" when asked if he was OK with the Bulls putting a timetable on his return.

"Who knows?" Rose said when asked directly when he'll be back. "Whenever I feel well, that's when I'll step back on the court.

"I feel good. I'm in a positive place right now."

When asked later if he's prepared to not return this season if something feels off in his right knee, Rose responded, "Yeah, but the way I'm feeling right, there's a good chance that I'll come back."

The Feb. 27 procedure was Rose's third knee surgery of his career. He tore his left ACL in April 2012 and missed all of the 2012-'13 season, coming under heavy criticism when doctors cleared him to return late in that season but he chose not to because his body didn't feel right. Rose then originally tore his right medial meniscus in November 2013 and missed all but 10 games in the 2013-'14 season.

The criticism from years past didn't seem to bother Rose on Monday. He brushed off a question of whether he feels a responsibility to return for a Bulls team with championship aspirations.

"No pressure at all, especially not with this team," Rose said. "We've got a great team. If anything, my teammates are telling me to take my time, and when I'm really healthy, I'll come back.

"Right now it's all about just getting the most of all my rehabs."

Before Rose spoke, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose was "right on schedule" in his rehab. As for what that means now, Rose is shooting, doing squats and conditioning but isn't allowed to jump yet. He was unsure of when he'll return to full basketball activities.

Rose last played on Feb. 23 in a win against Milwaukee, but he thought he might have injured his meniscus as far back as Jan. 27 at Golden State, a game in which he hit the game-winner at the buzzer. Rose played in the next 10 games after that.

"I've probably been playing on it for a month," Rose said. "I remember feeling something in Golden State and who knows? That could have been a sign telling me that something was wrong, and that was a month and two weeks ago. So, who knows when it happened? It could have happened that game, the previous game, who knows?"

Given his injury history, Rose was asked if he'd be upset if the Bulls began to build a team in another manner moving forward and not around him. He showed his usual conviction in his answer.

"It's to each his own," Rose said. "If they feel like they need to do that, this is a business too. I know the business side. I know they'd be making a totally wrong mistake, but I'm not the owner, I'm the GM or the president. I'm the player. My job is to come out, go out there and try to play as hard as I can every night and try to win games. And if they decide to do something different or go another way, I can't get mad at them."

Rose is averaging 18.4 points per game on 40.7 percent shooting. Whenever he returns, he says he'll be a full go, even if he's thrust into the heat of the playoffs.

"I just know that when I step out there I'm going to play the way I normally play," Rose said. "Throw caution to the wind, play normal, and like I said, I put a lot of work into my body. This time around, work on balance a little bit more. Last time, I think I stopped doing that in the beginning stage. This time I think I'm going to do that a little bit more, and get the most out of it.'

"It could be a blessing in disguise. The way that I've been playing, the way that I've been shooting, this may lead to something good."

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