Hinrich: Bulls excited to have healthy Rose
August, 12, 2013
By Doug Padilla
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- A healthy Kirk Hinrich said Monday that the anticipation is building for the return of equally healthy Chicago Bulls teammate Derrick Rose.
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesDerrick Rose's first NBA game action in about 18 months is expected to be Oct. 5 in Indianapolis against the Pacers.
Before playing in a charity golf event Monday to help promote the PGA Tour's BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club Sept. 12-15, Hinrich said he has talked to Rose on multiple occasions this offseason.
"I saw him a few times, but not for a while," Hinrich said. "He's traveling around and getting ready himself. You can just tell he feels excited to have the opportunity to get back out there and just play basketball. That's what he loves to do and we're excited to have him back."
While fan reaction toward Rose has been split between those who can't wait to see the former MVP play again and those who thought he quit on last year's club by delaying his return from surgery to repair his ACL, Hinrich says the team has no such conflict.
"We're excited," Hinrich said. "We think we'll have a really good team. Hopefully we'll have some better luck health-wise. We're getting Derrick back and it's going to be great. I think we're going to be a very good, very deep team."
After injuring his calf in the Bulls' triple-overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets, Hinrich missed the final eight playoff games as the team was eliminated by the Miami Heat in the second round. While some speculation centered on Hinrich possibly dealing with the injury well into training camp, he said he is fine now and ready to head into the final season of his Bulls contract.
"If I wasn't healthy I wouldn't be out here (playing golf)," he said. "I'm feeling much better and feel like I've had a good offseason. I had time to take care of my body, heal up and start preparing for next year."
The Bulls open the regular season Oct. 29 against the NBA champion Miami Heat on national television, but Hinrich isn't as much focused on that marquee matchup as he is diving into the full schedule.
"I'm very excited," said Hinrich, who averaged 7.7 points per game last season and was a key to implementing coach Tom Thibodeau's signature defense from the backcourt. "We have most of our guys back. We had some great additions. The anticipation of Derrick coming back healthy and it sounds like he's motivated. We think we have a very good chance and it will be very good."