Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose revealed that it “felt good” to make his return to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2012 in Saturday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
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Rose had 23 points and seven assists in the 103-91 win in Game 1 against the Bucks, and was visibly enjoying it as he interacted with the crowd and was seen laughing and joking on the bench.
As well as finding his range from beyond the arc, the 26-year-old was aggressive and confident in attacking the basket as he breezed by defenders to get to the rim for lay-ups and even had a dunk on a fast-break with Jimmy Butler.
Naturally, that would have given the entire organisation a lift to see their former MVP get back to playing some of his old basketball, but there will undoubtedly still be anxiousness that he doesn’t suffer any setbacks in the coming weeks given his history with knee injuries.
“It felt good,” Rose said of his playoff return, as reported by ESPN.
“It felt normal. I’m grateful to be playing again, playing with my teammates that I have right now. They’re allowing me to play the way that I normally play, and it’s an honor, man. I’m really fortunate because I think anywhere else it wouldn’t be the same, and they’re giving me motivation. They’re pushing me, and it feels good.”
Rose sustained a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012 which forced him to miss the rest of the campaign. Meanwhile, he missed the playoffs last year due to a torn meniscus in his right knee in November 2013 and then underwent a meniscectomy in February this year on the same knee.
Having had a chance to get his rhythm and confidence back with five regular season games before the playoffs, Rose appears to be in a good place both mentally and physically this time round and that will certainly be a positive thing for the Bulls’ hopes of winning a championship this year.