Derrick Rose's former high school coach spoke with Rose on Tuesday and said the Chicago Bulls star was in good spirits and is ready to work his way back from recent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee.
Rose is expected to miss eight to 12 months after undergoing surgery on Saturday. He tore the ACL on April 28 during the first game of the Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"He's doing well," Simeon Career Academy (Chicago) coach Robert Smith said of Rose. "He was at rehab. His spirits are up. He's ready to work as hard as he can to get back on the court. That's his objective right now.
"There's no doubt in my mind he's going to come back. I think he's going to come back and going to back at full strength. At the beginning, he might think about it a little more. When he gets to be more comfortable, he's going to be the Derrick Rose of old."
Rose has not spoken publicly since he was injured.
Smith watched Rose deal with injuries at Simeon. None were as serious as a torn ACL, but Smith saw how Rose handled a physical setback.
"He just came back stronger," Smith said. "Whatever it takes to get healthy, he'll do it."
Smith has known Rose since he was a child and understands what basketball means to him.
"This is the first time he's been without basketball," Smith said. "It's part of life. Myself, if it had to happen to him, I'm glad it happened now, so he can fight through the adversity. He's fought through adversity his whole life coming from the community he's come from. This is nothing that will set him back, but it'll also give him a chance to sit back and reflect on life and the things given to him and the things he's worked so hard to create for himself.
"The one thing we've created here at Simeon is a family atmosphere. Derrick understands that. Anything we can help him with, our doors are open to him."