The Bulls aren't counting on Derrick Rose returning next season. They aren't even planning for it. But general manager Gar Forman said he will keep the core of a team that had the league's best regular-season record in back-to-back seasons together with an eye toward the future.
Even if Rose's injury prevents the Bulls from competing for championship next season, Forman is confident they will do so in time.
"We're hopeful at some point he'll be back," Forman said. "I'm not sure we'll make plans as if he will be, but we're optimistic he will be at some point. The biggest thing in my mind and our mind with an injury like this is we've obviously spent a lot of time putting this team together. Everything was looking at the big picture, long term, and it's our job to stay focused on that and continue to look at what we feel is a long window of opportunity to have success. That's how we'll approach it. Have we taken a hit in the short term? Without question. Will we make decisions based on the short-term? We won't. Our decisions will continue to be based on the long-term and a big part of that is Derrick, who we feel will be a special player for us for the next 10, 15 years."
Rose will be continue his rehabilitation after surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee either in Chicago or in Los Angeles under the guidance of medical experts and the team's medical and athletic-training staffs. He will start running in about four months, at which point some basketball-related activities can begin, such as spot shooting. Then he'll work on cutting and then absorbing contact before he can start practicing with the team, which could happen as early as next January.
The speed and explosiveness that is his trademark should return in time, although it often takes longer than it does for the injury itself to heal.
"Some of the things you've seen Derrick do over and over again he'll have to re-learn," Bulls trainer Fred Tedeschi said.