It's been a long, hard road back from a torn left ACL for Derrick Rose, but after nearly 17 months of patient, "selfish" rehabilitation, the Chicago Bulls point guard is reportedly looking "great" in workouts, comfortably throwing down on lowered rims and on track to return for the Bulls' first preseason game in October. All that work has left just one more test to complete — one last obstacle that all athletes returning from injury must overcome to prove to everyone, including themselves, that they're ready to resume full-steam-ahead play.
I'm talking, of course, about playing basketball against samurai. Luckily, Rose had the opportunity to do just that last week during a Tokyo stop on his Adidas promotional tour:
It's like Red Auerbach always used to say: "If you can get to the rim while being defended by three honorable and noble katana-wielding warriors, you can play against most NBA defensive schemes." We're not yet willing to say that Rose is ready to be the best player in the NBA, but we do feel comfortable suggesting that if the 2010-11 NBA Most Valuable Player ever finds himself transported back in time to war-torn 13th-century Japan, he'll stand a fair chance of being able to dribble his way to safety.
The samurai weren't the only adversaries Rose took on during the "1 on 100" event in Tokyo. Hit the jump for some more clips of Derrick facing up on overmatched Japanese defenders.
There is, of course, quite a large gap between the defensive abilities of the folks Rose is shaking here and the likes of the perimeter aces he'll oppose come live NBA action in October, but I'll be honest — I don't much care. I just watched Derrick Rose dribble and shake, juke and jab, push off and propel himself to the rim, and I got amped. It will be exciting to watch Rose attack NBA defenders in the parry-and-thrust of actual gameplay, but for now, I'll take exhibition layups and soft dunks against makeshift warriors and fans; after a year and a half without any of it, I think we should be psyched to take what we can get.