Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose still has a long road to recovery from a torn ACL that crushed the team’s chances in the 2011-12 NBA Playoffs. However, by all accounts Rose has been ahead of schedule, and sources have indicated that the All-Star guard will begin light on-court activity soon, according to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
The source said that Rose’s recovery is “coming along great” and that his upper body is stronger than ever. The source also acknowledged that Rose will begin “light” on-court activity soon.
While these are still baby steps in a long recovery process, all indications point to Rose making a full recovery at the moment. Early projections had the former MVP returning in March, but owner Jerry Reinsdorf and other members of Bulls management have said they will not rush back their centerpiece.
With Rose out for a good portion of the season, the question remains: Do the Bulls have enough talent to contend without their star? With how the East is currently constructed, I still believe the team will be a mid to lower playoff seed, right on time for the return of their star guard.
Looking around the conference, I see the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets as locks for high-to-mid playoff seeds, with Chicago fighting for a top-6 spot. In my opinion, the final three seeds will be a battle between the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons.
If Joakim Noah stays healthy and Luol Deng opts not to get surgery, the Bulls should easily make the playoffs. If Rose returns (although he probably won’t be up to speed until the following season) the Bulls could be right back in the mix as a playoff contender.
Zach Mink covers the Chicago Bulls for Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter @zachmink12 for more news and analysis.