Derrick Rose knew he was coming back before the playoffs. After participating in a few full-contact practices, it was clear he was coming back this week — before the playoffs start. Tonight against the Orlando Magic looks to be that night.
Rose has missed the last 20 games after surgery to repair a torn meniscus. In those 20 games, the Bulls have played .500 and they’re currently in a fight with the Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the East and a chance to avoid the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs.
Rose was able to come back before the playoffs because “the torn part or the damaged part of the meniscus was removed,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said at the time of the procedure. This is in contrast to his last surgery after suffering a medial meniscus tear in the same right knee 10 games into the 2013-14 season.
The surgery last season was to repair the torn meniscus, which takes a lot longer to heal from then if the affected part of the tendon is just removed. But when that happens it can also cause problems since there’s less cushioning for the knee. Dwyane Wade blames surgery to remove his meniscus while at Marquette for persistent knee issues later in his career.
Still, the Bulls are excited about their point guard’s return, according to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell:
Rose himself joked about his extended convalescence as simply some time off to get fresh for the playoffs:
But Rose is relieved all his hard work has allowed him some time on the court before the real season begins:
Only time will tell if Rose’s meniscus removal will make him even more susceptible to injury issues. After tearing his left ACL in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, he missed the entire 2012-13 season recuperating and then missed all but 10 games during the 2013-14 season after tearing his right medial meniscus the first time. But he’ll be back tonight, and the Bulls can use all the help they can muster for their playoff push. We just hope his decision to remove the torn meniscus and severely shorten his recovery period doesn’t lead to even more knee issues for the 2011 NBA MVP.
That award seems like forever ago now.