Rose has played just 10 games in the last two seasons, can his knees hold up?
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has impressed at the Team USA training camp this week, but the question remains, can he return to being the same player?
With the NBA’s finest talents beginning their preparations for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, eyes were fixed on the 25-year-old as he participated in drills and showcased the type of explosiveness that was synonymous with his game prior to the injuries.
After suffering a torn ACL in 2012, Rose sustained a torn meniscus in his other knee in November last year as noise grew from the doubters over whether or not the former league MVP would ever be able to recover fully.
Rose has since conceded that he perhaps pushed too hard in his comeback last season in an attempt to prove to everyone that he was back to his best, and having learned that harsh lesson, he is adamant that he will be more patient this time round given that he is still only 25, and despite the fact that his confidence is “through the roof”.
Bulls head coach and Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau has led the chorus of praise for Rose so far this week, with many of the coaching staff revealing just how impressed they are with the way the point guard is performing.
Admittedly, the transition back into competitive basketball action will be a significant step-up, but if he travels to Spain and flourishes, then it will be a huge boost for Chicago as they look to end their long wait for another championship.
Rose revealed his delight with the work the front-office has done this off-season, bringing in the likes of Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Aaron Brooks, despite missing out on their primary target Carmelo Anthony who opted to remain with the New York Knicks.
However, his decision could prove to be a blessing in disguise as ultimately the Bulls have strengthened and added much-needed depth to their roster, and as a result they will be widely regarded as one of the favourites to win the Eastern Conference next season.
Nevertheless, talent and determination can only get them so far, as demonstrated last season with their leader Joakim Noah dragging them to the playoffs only to fall to a disappointing first-round defeat to the Washington Wizards.
Chicago needs that star individual to take them to the next level and provide a consistent scoring option against the toughest defences in the league, and that star individual is still Rose.
Noah was adamant last season that the only MVP on the Bulls roster is their point guard, and if he can continue to show signs of getting back to his best coupled with the help that he now has around him, Chicago look a genuine contender next season as this could well be a legitimate ‘return’ for Rose.