- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo is convinced that Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose will return to action at some point this season rather than sit out the whole year as some have speculated.
"Some people say, 'Well (if) you have a chance to make the playoffs or (are) in the playoffs, come back.' Some people say, 'If you don't have a chance maybe hold out a year,' but I think you should still go out there and get some games under your belt and work out some kinks and wrinkles," Mayo said. "Which is never too bad because he's been training for a whole year and excited about coming back and playing so you don't want it to be a whole year and a whole (other) summer and wait until the offseason because D, he doesn't really play too much pick-up in the summer. So I think it would be good for him to come back whenever he's ready and just work out some wrinkles and kinks."
Rose tore the ACL in his left knee in the first game of last spring's playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"We grew up together," Mayo said. "We started playing each other since we were 8, 9 years old. So to see him go down, it was pretty heartbreaking. I know he's going to work hard to get back and be out there helping his team. I know it's killing him right now not to be able to get a chance to help his guys, but he's a great player and a hard worker so I know he'll get back to (being) himself."
Mayo said he talked to Rose on his birthday last month and found the former MVP to be in good spirits.
"He seems good," Mayo said. "I know his rehab is going well and he's back on court doing drill work and stuff. I'm looking forward to him having a big time comeback."
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle knows there are similarities between the Bulls' situation with Rose and the Mavericks', who are without injured star Dirk Nowitzki.
"It's two top 10 players out so there are similarities but we've got to deal with our situation, they've got to deal with theirs," Carlisle said. "It's tough. The hope is when you come through it, you've got guys that are put in situations where they have to step up and be out of their comfort zone and do a little more. We've got to make sure they're able to do those things without making some of the untimely mistakes that we've seen. I've been watching Chicago play lately, but I haven't watched every game all year, so I can speak to our situation."
Rose may not be on the floor, but Mayo knows the Bulls can still compete at high level despite their recent struggles.
"Derrick is a big part of the last two years of their success, but they still play hard as heck," Mayo said. "They're one of the toughest teams in the league defensively and a well coached ballclub. It's the start of the season I wouldn't panic, it's still a good ballclub."