Funk has hunch Rose back this season

The Chicago Bulls have said all along that Derrick Rose will miss the season after the star guard injured his knee in November.

But Bulls television play-by-play man Neil Funk has a feeling Rose will be back on the court before the end of the season.

"My belief is he's going to play before this season is over," Funk said Wednesday on the "Carmen & Jurko" show on ESPN Chicago 1000. "No one in the Bulls organization ... they have stuck to their guns that he is out for the season. But I just have this feeling, I don't know why, and this isn't the first time that I've said it, but I really think he's going to play before the season is over.

"At what point [is unclear] and obviously they are going to monitor his minutes very closely if he were to come back. All of those things are going to happen. How much of a factor, whether it's at the end of the regular season or into the playoffs, that remains to be seen. Obviously, there is a likelihood or strong likelihood that maybe he won't play during the regular season. I think he wants to be sure that he's 100 percent, which he thought he was when he came back off that other knee injury, and it looked like he was just starting to round into shape when he hurt that other one."

Rose missed the 2012-13 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee April 2012; he played 10 games this season before tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee in Portland on Nov. 22. After having surgery days later, Rose was ruled out for the season by the Bulls. In his first news conference after the injury in November, Rose said he wouldn't rule out a possible return for the playoffs, but he seemed to back off those comments in February.

"I haven't even had a chance to think about [a return this season], to tell you the truth," Rose said on Feb. 12, his most recent public comments about his rehab. "I'm just worrying about my next stage in this process, and that's running right now. I'm on the [anti-gravity treadmill] right now, running on that and hopefully be running without it pretty soon."

Rose has since started running on his own but still has not practiced with the team.

Asked why the Bulls wouldn't rule Rose out of practices for the rest of the season, coach Tom Thibodeau said on Feb. 26: "He's out for the season. I don't know what else you guys want. Again, I think that's a step-by-step thing. He's doing great. He's out for the season. Nothing's changed there. In the end, if he's where it makes sense for him to practice, then that's what he'll do. But he's doing great."