ORLANDO – Very little seems to come easy when it involves Derrick Rose and injury talk.
Tuesday was just further evidence of that.
According to one team source, Rose and his surgically-repaired right knee have been cleared to play by the team medical staff, “… but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be against [Orlando],’’ the source said in a text.
However, another team source indicated that no decision has been made on Rose by the medical people and a return on Wednesday, but “there could be a surprise.’’
At least publicly, the Bulls did little to clear up Rose’s status, officially upgrading him from out to questionable on the medical report.
To add to the murkiness, there was an Instagram post by Rose’s ex-girlfriend Mieka Reese – who he also had son Derrick Jr. with back in 2012 – in which there was a photo of Rose and the caption “W E D N E S D A Y.”
Reese then turned her account status private soon after the post.
Rose had surgery on the right knee back on Feb. 27, and the team came out and issued a four- to six-week timetable on his recovery.
Friday’s off day would be exactly six weeks, with the Bulls scheduled to play in a Sunshine State back-to-back starting Wednesday, facing the Magic and then heading down to play the Miami Heat.
The next game at the United Center is on Saturday, with the Bulls hosting Philadelphia.
While there has been speculation that the organization would look for a soft spot for Rose to land and compete against in his return, coach Tom Thibodeau downplayed that several times over the last month, stating that when Rose was “ready to play he would play.’’
What couldn’t be ignored on Monday, however, was Rose looking gassed after the team practice, and Thibodeau again pointing out that conditioning for the guard was still a concern.
“He’s been out a long time,’’ Thibodeau said of Rose, when the question of his condition came up. “The scrimmage part is body-on-body. That conditioning is entirely different. So we’re not expecting him to play 35 minutes. Just go out there and we’ll establish a baseline. Run the team and just him being on the floor helps our team.’’
Rose’s latest medical setback has been filled with the usual drama surrounding the point guard. It was during his recovery from the torn anterior cruciate ligament back in the 2012-13 season that Rose made headlines for making the decision not to play late in the year, despite team doctors clearing him to return.
After he tore the meniscus in his right knee after just 10 games last season, the team stomped out that drama quickly, indicating right away that Rose was lost for the year.
But the latest injury resulted in very little wiggle room from Rose’s franchise, with the timetable set immediately.
And some of Rose’s teammates weren’t thrilled by that.
“Because we all know what four-to-six weeks means,’’ veteran center Nazr Mohammed. “Four-to-six weeks is for the average person, who is not going to play professional basketball, professional football, who isn’t playing professional anything. We know what four-to-six weeks means, and we know that as bad as [Rose] wants to play, he’s going to get out there when he feels his body is able to help us.
“It’s crazy how every injury is four-to-six weeks, six-to-eight weeks. Guys know that, so a timetable is timetable. You can try and get back then, but at the same time you have to listen to your body.’’