Rose return goes from frustrating to fun

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
10:00
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Taj Gibson isn't hiding his excitement about having Derrick Rose back this season.

After spending the past year and a half dealing with the uncertainty surrounding Rose's status after knee surgery, the relief that players and coaches have knowing that the former MVP is going to play this season has permeated throughout the first few days of the Bulls training camp.

[+] EnlargeRose
David Banks/USA TODAY SportsDerrick Rose's impact has already been felt by his teammates, including Taj Gibson.
"It's great," Gibson said. "I'm getting the same good looks I used to get in the past. My corner jump shot has been fantastic these last two days. Just the whole outcome of how he's been finding guys, and how guys are finding each other, it's just magnificent. Having so much fun the last day and a half in training camp, even though I hate two-a-days, but it's been fun. I can't lie to you, it's been fun."

Rose's presence on the floor has that kind of impact on his team and his teammates are excited about all the possibilities with him on the floor.

"It's important because of who he is and what he does for our team," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of having Rose back. "I think the fact that he's hard-working, team-first, those are all things that are a big plus for us. He sets the tone for our team. He's our leader. And I think last year he had to make a tough decision. He did that. But as a leader he's never been afraid to make a tough decision. I think he's prepared himself for this and we're ready for the next step."

Rose has been working up to this moment for awhile. His reputation has taken a hit from some critics who believe he should have returned after being medically cleared by team doctors last season. But he is confident he has prepared himself the right way for this season.

"Don't tell Thibs," Rose said after Saturday's first practice, "I had workouts harder than this. For real, I worked out three times a day so for us to actually go through practice and have water breaks and all that, that's something I normally don't do in my workouts. So it's hard but I'm used to it."

Rose has played with the core group of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Gibson before, but even Thibodeau acknowledges that there will be some rust for everyone to take shake off working Rose back in.

"There's an adjustment, but he's been around," Thibodeau said. "Obviously, the core of the team has played with him before so that's to me a big plus. But you have to re-establish your chemistry. We always start from a zero base the next year and build from there but the fact that these guys have been together for a while is a plus."

The biggest plus for the Bulls is seeing Rose around the Berto Center and knowing that he is ready to go.

"First of all I think that Derrick really did the right thing in terms of sitting out last year," Noah said. "(He) got extra time to rest his knee and be ready. This is not an easy injury to overcome and for him to have that extra time really is going to help our chances of winning it. We know that we need everybody healthy at the end of this (season) for us to make a run -- him more than anybody -- so it's very, very exciting. Couldn't be more ready."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5