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NBA Chicago Bulls

Beefed Up and Fully Confident: Derrick Rose Poised for Huge 2013-14 Season

Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose

Steve Mitchell – USA TODAY Sports

It appears that Derrick Rose is finally feeling like himself again. At least according to Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau yesterday.

“I worked him out about a week ago,” Thibodeau said in a phone conversation with ESPN. “It was great.

“Watching the way he’s moving now, there’s a confidence. [Reporters] may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he’s there now. He feels great, and that’s the most important thing.”

That is a very important thing, especially since many are unsure of how Rose will fare next season after not playing basketball at the professional level in about a year and a half because of a torn left ACL.

Now, many fans of the young superstar question his dedication and how much he really cares after watching him sit on the bench the entire postseason. But really, you need to ask yourself how important it is that you stay upset at him when it’s inevitable that you’ll forgive him if he starts playing at an MVP-level next season, which at this point seems likely.

Waiting for so long wasn’t a bad decision, and in fact, it is completely backed by the surgeon who came up with today’s knee reconstruction procedure. Dr. K. Donald Shelbourne — who is likely the most respected authority in this field of medical treatment — was interviewed by ESPN 1000′s “Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show” back on Feb. 26.

Dr. Shelbourne said that contrary to the belief that players are back to being themselves generally in the eight-to-10 month range of rehab after the ACL reconstruction, athletes — and all people who have the surgery, really — do not have their knee begin to feel “normal” again until the 12-to-18 month period of rehabilitation.

As of today, June 14, it has been 13 months and two days since Rose’s surgery. And as far as we know, Rose has been telling the truth about not feeling quite right all along.

“The kid was being totally honest,” Thibodeau said. “At the end of the day, you have to respect that. He wanted to be out there very badly. But no one knew when he would be ready, including him. It was a smart decision to wait. If you’re not quite sure, and you’re going to err, err on the side of caution. That’s what he did. And now he feels great.”

Honestly, if you’re a fan of Rose and have been for a while, you know what kind of person he’s been throughout his career: honest, humbled, kind, caring and down-to-earth. No one should have any reason to suspect he didn’t want to be out there, but simply wasn’t confident he could be the Derrick Rose of old.

Something important that can now truly be analyzed is his outlook for next season. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but Rose could easily have his best season yet. He’s going to come into the year as healthy as he’s ever been, and as strong as he’s ever been.

Don’t get me wrong, Rose was always strong driving to the lane and getting off tough shots in traffic, but with new evidence, he could be even more impressive in that regard in the 2013-14 NBA calendar.

According to ChicagoBulls.com, GM Gar Forman was quoted saying right after the Bulls’ season ended that Rose has put on 15 pounds of muscle during his rehab. He came into the league at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, making him roughly 205 pounds if he doesn’t bulk up anymore this offseason.

That extra muscle is probably going to be mostly core and upper-body. Having that is going to be a major plus for the 2011 MVP. It’ll help him twist and turn his position even more around players near the rim to get clean shots off, and it will especially help his long-range shot, which he has been working on frequently during his rehab as well.

If Rose can bounce back after not playing an entire season and put up numbers better than his 2011 year, we could very well see him hoisting the MVP trophy once again. And to go along with that, leading his team to the best record in the NBA for a third time in the last four years is a distinct possibility.

I don’t know about all of you, but if I had to put my money on those two things, I would.

Brian Neal is an intern at Rant Sports and senior mass communications major at Lewis University. Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23 and “Like” him on Facebook.