Rose was seen doing some sprints at the Berto center causing speculation that he might come back soon. You can do a sprint without an ACL, so I wouldn't take much from this. However, Ric Bucher noted Rose has been dunking for months which is more interesting.
Buc's full tweet (spacing added by myself for readability):
Derrick Rose has been dunking for weeks, but let's stop the madness
He's not anywhere close to practicing or playing. There are those in his camp who don't think he should play at all this season, for a couple of reasons: first, and foremost, the Bulls don't have a championship-caliber roster, so why shorten the strength and conditioning period for his knee to drag them into the playoffs or an extra round or two deeper. Second, don't mask just how flawed this roster is by coming back and finishing up strong.
(My second call-out of the week: where are all those trumpeting the last few years how the Bulls' success was more or equally about their defense and Tom Thibodeau's coaching over DRose being a one-man assault weapon? Or that there was more talent around him than some people realized? No offense to Thibodeau, who is a very good coach, but just how brilliant is he looking now? Or the suggestion the Bulls' defense was good in spite, not because, of Derrick?
Defensive FG percentage, overall and from 3pt range, suggest otherwise. And then there's just watching and comparing the actual games, that antiquated means of assessing a team -- I know, I'm a dinosaur that way.) Of course, all of this could be trumped by Rose simply deciding his body feels good enough to return and refusing to wait a minute longer.
That is a very real possibility -- the Bulls could be 11 games out of a playoff spot with 10 to play and Rose would still think he could find a way to lead them there, or kill himself trying. But any suggestions that he could come back before March, from what I'm told, is filling the fan base and everyone else with unrealistic hope that a championship run is still in the equation. This season will be worthwhile if, and only if, it convinces management not to exploit Rose's talent, refusal to complain and never-say-die attitude and accept that what they have around him right now is not enough.
Let me just state the insanity here:
1: Derrick Rose has been dunking for months? Really? Now this is newsworthy because a dunk actually puts a pretty huge amount of stress on your knees to jump and land. I'm going to go ahead and call BS on this one, but if it's legit then I consider it awfully positive news.
2: Why shorten his recovery period to bring him back this year? A better question is why lengthen it past the normal recovery period which would have him ready in January or February? After he's physically ready what he needs most is to get confidence back by playing in games.
3: His family will hold him out to highlight how bad the roster is without him? If he thought Derrick would do this, I'd call it a WTF moment, but NBA families can be crazy, so I'll remain open to the possibility. However, odds of anyone convincing Derrick Rose to sit when he's ready to play, especially to highlight how bad the roster is? Zero.
Besides which, if the roster wins half their games, will we really think it's that bad? Does anyone really believe this group is better than .500 without Derrick Rose on the season? This seems like a pointless gesture.
4: No possibility of a return before March? I'd be very surprised if Derrick Rose doesn't return immediately after the all-star break (or sometime before that). At this point I think a late January return is possible, but if they miss that date by a week or so they'll just hold out until after the all-star break to get in the extra week of rest for free.
Granted, a post-all star break return is close enough to March that Bucher doesn't look like a complete imbecile for saying this, but I'd be surprised if Rose isn't back in February, even if that February timeline is nearing the end of it after the all star game.