Derrick Rose has been officially cleared to play by his doctor.
That statement alone should have Chicagoans celebrating in the street, as many feel that the Bulls, with a healthy Rose of course, have the best chance of halting the Heat and heading to the NBA Finals out of the East.
To their credit, Chicago has done a decent job of holding their own without the 2011 NBA MVP in their lineup, and they currently sit at sixth in the Eastern Conference.
However without Rose, one of the most unique and explosive players in the entire League and the unquestioned leader of the team, no one sees Chicago as a serious threat. But, as soon as he is inserted into the lineup the Bulls become an immediate contender, who matches up favorably in the frontcourt against the likes of Miami.
Chicago’s celebration needs to be halted, at least for now however.
Despite being cleared for game play, Derrick will delay his extremely-anticipated return until he can confidently dunk off of his left foot.
According to ESPN, Rose has been videotaped dunking off of each foot already, albeit more casually than he would in a game, and the superstar wants to make sure he feels completely ready before returning to action.
"I would love to return. I would love to,” Rose stated on February 13, the last time he spoke publicly. “That's why I approached my rehab and my workout so hard. I'm trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible, but if I have anything lingering on, it's no point."
A huge part of Rose’s game revolves around exploding to the basket and taking hard hits, so one can understand his desire to feel fully functional in this area before returning to action.
The Bulls are not pressuring Rose to return, but Chicago would certainly like to see him on court this season. A source told ESPN that while the Bulls will support whatever decision Rose makes, they would rather he return this season to “get it under his belt.”
Rose’s return to the Bulls lineup would make the remainder of the regular season more interesting, and could transform Chicago into a true contender come playoff time.
But before Rose can push the Bulls deep into the playoffs, he first needs to be able to push off of his left foot. Bulls fans and Heat haters alike are hoping that happens sooner than later.