Rockets' Howard sympathizes with Rose

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard feels bad that Derrick Rose has to miss another season because of a season-ending knee surgery.

"It's just an unfortunate situation for him," Howard said after Wednesday's shootaround. "He tried so hard to come back from the one injury, and then he got injured again. Injuries are not something that's easy to come back from. It's mentally draining, and if you're not strong enough to handle being injured, it's hard. When I hurt my back, just trying to get back into it after five, six months of not being able to do anything, you're watching guys play and it hurts. So I know how he feels."

Rose tore the medial meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22 against the Portland Trail Blazers. He missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs. Howard said he has not spoken to Rose yet after his latest injury but hopes he will at some point. Rose and Howard have shot commercials together in the past and are both sponsored by Adidas.

Howard thinks Rose can get back to the player he used to be if he focuses on his rehab.

"I hope he does," Howard said. "It just takes time. In this age, people don't want to hear it takes time, they want it now. But with injuries, for us, we have to make sure with our career that we take our time to get back right, and that's what he should do. He didn't rush last year, and he shouldn't rush now. They're going to put a lot of pressure on him to play, and just because you see somebody out there working and jumping and running, that doesn't mean that they're game-ready. It's a big difference, so hopefully he takes his time and he comes back when he's ready to play."

In the meantime, Howard is trying not to underestimate a battered Bulls team that comes into Wednesday's game against the Rockets having lost 11 of its past 14 games.

"They're going to go out and play hard," Howard said. "They got a lot of those guys that want opportunities. Jimmy Butler, he's been trying to get an opportunity to get the ball and score. So with Derrick out, these guys are going to play extremely hard. They've had to deal with playing without Derrick for a couple of years. So they know how to play without him, and it's sad to see him hurt. But they're going to keep playing hard and we have to really watch out for the guys that are going to be out there playing."