Russell Westbrook was preparing for Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks in last year's first-round playoff series, when he first heard about the extent of his workout partner's injury.
Almost seven months later, the Oklahoma City point guard was still feeling awful for Derrick Rose.
"It's tough man,'' Westbrook said Thursday, before a showdown with the Rose-less Bulls. "I can't imagine what that injury or what that feels like. He was going through a tough year, being injured, and it was tough. But he's doing a great job of continuing to bring yourself back and be better the next time.''
Westbrook and Rose, and in recent years, Minnesota's Kevin Love, have all worked out with each other in the offseason, spending gym time together in Santa Monica, Calif.
Westbrook said that Rose did show up again this summer, but considering Rose was casually taking shots at that time, just three-plus months removed from surgery to repair his torn left anterior cruciate ligament, the only real interaction between the two was in conversations off the court.
"It's tough, because we've been working out together for about four years now,'' Westbrook continued. "So it was definitely a little different. But he was still in the gym, doing what he could.''
While there is no timetable for Rose's return to the court, Westbrook insisted that he's been around the Bulls star to know that when he does return it will be business as usual.
"No doubt in my mind he will,'' Westbrook replied, when asked if he thought Rose could return to MVP-form. "He works hard at what he does and he will definitely come back more determined and come back and try to be better.''