Their postseason run painfully a thing of the past by virtue of their 4-1 takedown by the upstart Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls fans can at least take solace in the knowledge Derrick Rose is ahead of schedule in his rehab from knee surgery and again taking part in contact drills.
The Bulls’ offensive shortcomings without the youngest MVP in league history were never more evident this season than they were in the opening round Eastern Conference series against the Wiz, particularly during Tuesday night’s closeout game where they managed just 69 points. For the series, the Bulls averaged just 89 points per game and failed to crack 100 points in any game. Reserve forward Taj Gibson lead the team in scoring at 18.2 points per game, followed by Jimmy Butler at 13.6.
Earlier that same day, the Chicago Tribune reported All-Star guard Rose was seen battling veteran reserve Mike James in a spirited game of one-on-one at the team’s practice facility, where he took contact to his surgically repaired left knee for the first time since having his meniscus repaired.
The Bulls have previously reported the 25-year-old Rose has suffered no setbacks in his rehab and is aiming to return to competitive action this summer when he competes for a spot on the Team USA squad set to compete in the FIBA World Cup.
Coached by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau as an assistant, the team is scheduled to convene in Las Vegas in late July. Rose played in just 10 games this season before missing his second straight season to a major knee injury. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds. During his MVP season in 2011, Rose averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds.
Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 season rehabbing his left knee after suffering an ACL team in a 2012 playoff game against Philadelphia.