Gibson believes Rose is better than ever

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose isn't sure of the exact moment when he stopped worrying about his knee, but Taj Gibson has a pretty good idea.

Gibson, Rose's good friend and Chicago Bulls teammate, remembers a particularly hot day in Carson, Calif. during a training session over the summer as the day when he knew that Rose was all the way back.

"We worked out there like every morning," Gibson said after Rose dropped 22 points in 22 minutes in Wednesday night's preseason win over the Detroit Pistons. "It was so hot, hot. It was really hot. And we would have to put these carts and trays with metal weights in them and he would just be moving them. And then we would do cut drills, basically like football players, cutting back and forth. He was cutting. He was so fast and so explosive. I just knew he was back."

Rose said recently that his vertical leap has grown five inches since the surgery -- a figure that doesn't surprise Gibson. He can see that Rose is playing the same way as he did before he tore the ACL in his knee on April 28, 2012 and he is sure the former MVP's game is only going to improve.

"I just knew that he felt comfortable, especially with his leg and his knee just coming off and jumping with one leg,” Gibson said. “You look at (Wednesday) how he was real explosive, just taking on double teams as far as getting to the rim."

Rose has played in three preseason games -- missing one because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee last Saturday in Rio -- but in those games he has played, Rose has shown his trademark speed and quickness. He is driving to the rim and showing no fear while trying to knock off some of the rust that comes after missing almost a year and a half because of injury.

"He looks just like his self," Gibson said. "A couple mis-timing on plays but that's what preseason and practice is for. (Wednesday) he looked great. Different days you're going to have ups and downs but everybody on this team is on the upswing and we're running with it and I think he's doing a great job."

That's the part that gets lost sometimes in Rose's return. His appearance back on the floor, and playing as he did on Wednesday night, gives a huge lift to Gibson and the rest of his teammates. They know that with Rose back on the floor they have a chance to win a championship.

"The sky's the limit for Derrick," Gibson said. "He just got back. He's extremely happy to be back, especially tonight he felt good. He looked great but it's still a matter of just guys getting better. We got a long season. It's preseason, we've got a long season. You're going to see a lot more highlights of Derrick Rose and we're happy to have him back."

The scary part for the rest of the league is that Gibson believes there's a chance that Rose -- who said he was 'way more explosive' than he was before the injury -- is even faster than he was before.

"He might just be," Gibson said. "Because at one point (Wednesday) he went from 0-to-30 so fast. It's all about him just being a little bit more confident. He's there because you can see how hard he went. The main thing you see is that he's extremely excited to be back. He's so eager and you can tell that sometimes he forces a couple plays, but he's just so eager to be back."