There was a bit more optimism.
There was at least an, “Oh yeah, I’m not worried about that,’’ from Derrick Rose when asked if he thought he would be back from his Feb. 27 right knee surgery.
When? Which game was he targeting?
This is Rose, so even when there’s a hint of optimism, there’s also that cloud of doubt.
Asked before the Wednesday shootaround if he thought he would be back before the regular season comes to an end, Rose responded, “That would be the plan. But who knows? Whenever I’m ready to come back, that’s when I’m going to come back.’’
As it stands going into tonight’s game with the Raptors, Rose is scheduled to take full contact in practice, likely starting on Thursday, when the Bulls return home for a practice day. Once a player starts taking full contact, as long as there are no setbacks, the window is usually a week, maybe two.
That’s about where Rose was looking for a return.
“It depends on how you take the contact,’’ Rose said. “If I don’t have any setbacks, I would say one-to-two weeks. If I take the contact and everything is fine, who knows?’’
Ideally, that could mean a return for the week of April 5, starting with a Sunday afternoon game in Cleveland on national television. It would be a good landing spot for Rose, considering the Cavaliers aren’t considered a physical team, and he’s well-versed in Kyrie Irving, having competed against him most of the summer with Team USA.
If Rose could get back then, and that’s a big if, it would give him six regular-season games before the intensity of the playoffs.
“I think if he can get those four or five it would be great,’’ teammate Pau Gasol said, when asked what an early April return would mean. “I think it would be ideal. If he can’t get those four or five it would be a little tougher to be on the spot come playoff time. It would be a little harder on him and on us as well.’’
Rose didn’t see it that way exactly.
In his mind, if he has to come back for the start of the playoffs, he would be more than ready.
“It’s different,’’ Rose said of playoff basketball and the intensity it climbs to. “But I’m a pro. I think I’m good enough to fit my way in.’’