While the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs battle for an NBA title, the news out of Chicago should put a smile on the faces of Chicago Bulls fans.
Derrick Rose is back -- the old Derrick Rose.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told ESPN Chicago that Rose's speed and explosiveness are back to where the former most valuable player is feeling like himself again.
"I worked him out about a week ago," Thibodeau said late last week. "It was great."
Rose tore his ACL last postseason and missed the entire 2012-13 season. Although he was cleared by doctors to play shortly after the All-Star break, he remained on the sidelines to make sure he was fully recovered physically. But there also were mental roadblocks to overcome.
"Watching the way he's moving now, there's a confidence," Thibodeau said. "[Reporters] may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he's there now. He feels great, and that's the most important thing."
Rose was criticized for not suiting up this year, despite reports that he was dominating teammates in practice. Thibodeau defended Rose's decision.
"The kid was being totally honest," Thibodeau said. "At the end of the day, you have to respect that. He wanted to be out there very badly. But no one knew when he would be ready, including him. It was a smart decision to wait. If you're not quite sure, and you're going to err, err on the side of caution. That's what he did. And now he feels great."
The next step for the 24-year-old Rose is to spend time with his trainer in Los Angeles starting next week. He will travel to Belgrade, Serbia for an exhibition beginning on July 7.