Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson said the team is not growing impatient waiting for Derrick Rose to return from ACL surgery, and it doesn't bother his teammates that Rose is healthy enough to play but not confident enough yet to return.
Gibson recently missed nearly a month with a sprained MCL and said there are times his knee feels about 50 percent. Joakim Noah (missed last three games with plantar fasciitis) and Luol Deng (injured wrist) also have soldiered through injuries and have the Bulls on a three-game win streak and in fifth place in the East.
"It really doesn't rub me (the wrong way), because he tore his ACL," Gibson said Thursday on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN 1000. "I had a sprained MCL. It's totally two different injuries.
"Because when you tear your ACL you have to make sure your mind is right, and then you have to make sure your body is right. It's a correlation of both. Before I got on the court, I made sure I was 100 percent. But in the NBA, it's a grind-out kind of league, especially the way I play, so things are going to happen. So he has to wait till his mind is right until he's ready to get back on the court."
Rose underwent surgery on May 12 and he's been medically cleared to play. He's been scrimmaging 5-on-5 for five weeks, and reports are that he's been dominant in practice and has his explosion back.
But he still doesn't feel ready to test his knee in game action. He continues to suggest he could sit out the rest of this season -- 12 games remain in the regular-season -- if he doesn't feel confident enough to return.
"Not at all (is there impatience). We have to do our job, whoever is out there," Gibson said. "Like you saw (Wednesday when the Bulls snapped Miami's win streak at 27), we didn't have Joakim, didn't have Derrick, we had to go with whoever had the jersey on, Nazr Mohammed, Jimmy Butler, guys step up and do the job. That's the way our team has been the last three years, nothing is going to change."
Gibson wouldn't predict if Rose will return this season, and it's clear the Bulls players and front office are willing to wait until next season if needed.
"It depends on how he's feeling," Gibson said. "Derrick works his tail off every day. Slowly, but surely, he'll probably get back out there. Because I know the kind of player and the kind of person he is. He's been practicing with us every day just wishing he could get out there so it's all about how he feels."
As far as his own situation, Wednesday's physical win over the Heat took a toll on Gibson -- "(the health of the knee is) up and down, it's really up and down. One day it may be 90, the next day it may be 50, especially after a tough game" -- but he plans on playing Saturday in Dallas.
"It's different. It's still healing at the same time, but once I get warmed up and ready to come in I just try to bring effort and energy and slowly getting back to myself," he said. "It's good to be back out there with Kirk (Hinrich). Kirk is one of the catalysts who keeps me hyped. Our whole team is banged up. There's no excuses in this league. You understand that. Every time you turn around someone is stepping up."