CHICAGO -- After watching his basketball life flash before his eyes over the past three seasons as he battled a litany of injuries, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose reiterated after Tuesday's practice that he is thinking about his long-term future more than ever.
When asked how satisfied he is with his game, the former league MVP offered a glimpse into how much his mindset has changed since the injuries have started to pile up.
"I'm good, man," Rose said. "I felt like I've been managing myself pretty good. I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out or whatever, but I think a lot of people don't understand that ... when I sit out it's not because of this year.
"I'm thinking about long term. I'm thinking about after I'm done with basketball. Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don't want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son's graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. [I'm] just learning and being smart."
This isn't the first time Rose has talked about his future -- he's been discussing it off and on for months -- but it was probably the most open he's been about his basketball mortality to date.
Rose came into the season having played just 10 games over the past two seasons because of knee injuries. He has been more open about the fact he doesn't want to play unless he's "100 percent" healthy but conceded after last week's game against the Bucks that "of course I wasn't 100 percent tonight," drawing the ire of critics who want him to rest until he is ready to stay on the floor for a while.
"I think a lot of people don't understand that when I sit out it's not because of this year. I'm thinking about long term. I'm thinking about after I'm done with basketball."
After initially spraining both ankles Oct. 31 against the Cavaliers, Rose tweaked the injuries on Nov. 5 against Milwaukee and sat out two more games. The good news for the Bulls is that Rose looked much more comfortable going to the rim in Monday night's win over the Pistons. He scored 24 points and had seven assists in 32 minutes.
"I feel good," Rose said. "Just happy that I took the days off. Lifted a couple of days, really got some lifts in and got my body together and just try and continue to be positive and keep things going."
As for being 100 percent again, Rose said he isn't there but is getting closer each day.
"I think I'm close," he said. "It's just getting game-time reps. Everything you see that I'm doing now -- adding the midrange, adding the floater -- I'm missing them right now, but at least I'm getting up [those] shots.
"I know I'm going to have games where offensively I'm going to be great, but like [Monday] night at the end, missing them shots, and then still have the chance to really make a big change in the game when [coach Tom Thibodeau] gave me the opportunity to go isolation at the end. So things like that [I'm] just getting used to, but I just need the game experience."