LeBron: Decision to return all up to D-Rose

March, 27, 2013
3/27/13
2:04
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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LeBron James, Derrick RoseGetty ImagesLeBron James misses Derrick Rose, but he understands being patient with his injury.
CHICAGO -- Miami Heat forward LeBron James said Wednesday that Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose should be the only person who decides when he's ready to play in his first game following his ACL injury.

"All I can comment on is from the outside looking in," James said after the Heat's shootaround at the United Center on Wednesday morning. "I don't know. I'm not around him every day. I've been quoted before and same thing I feel -- when Derrick Rose is ready, and he's feeling confident that he's ready to come back and play, then that's when he'll make his choice. He should be the only who decides that.

"No one else is playing for him. No one else has to put on the uniform and go out here and play at a high level. He's the guy that has to do that. When he's confident, when he's ready, then he should come back. Before then, he shouldn't worry about it."

Rose, who has been medically cleared to play and has been participating in 5-on-5 scrimmages for five weeks, hasn't played in a game since tearing his ACL in the playoffs on April 28. He said recently he was unsure if he would return this season, which consists of just 13 more regular-season games. The Bulls are currently the fifth seed in the East.

James said he did miss facing Rose and watching him play.

"I love competing against the best," James said. "He's one of the best. I think the NBA as a whole, as a competitor you miss him on the floor, even on off days not being able to watch him out on the floor for the Bulls. It sucks, but health is No. 1 in our league. We'll see him back soon."

Heat forward Chris Bosh said he also isn't surprised Rose hadn't returned yet.

"He tore his ACL not that long ago," Bosh said. "I remember there was a point in time people tore their ACLs and they were out for a year at least. I think advances in medicine guys can come back sooner. The fact still remains that's a tough injury. It's not easy to come back playing a whole game of basketball. It's very difficult."

The Heat are going for their 28th consecutive win when they play the Bulls on Wednesday night. The Heat's ninth win of the streak was an 86-67 victory over the Bulls on Feb. 21.
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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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