Derrick Rose humbled by rehab, says latest recovery was 'hell'

NEW YORK -- As he tries to make his way back from his latest knee injury, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose remains humbled by what it has taken to get back on the floor.

When asked after Monday's shootaround what the past six weeks were like after having a meniscectomy on Feb. 27, his third knee surgery in three years, Rose didn't mince words.

"Hell," Rose said. "Hell, because you got to do rehab over again. Waking up at 7:30 every day, being there before practice, two hours before practice, beating everybody to the training room. When you arrive to the city, you have damn near two or three workouts every day. So the game, that's kind of easy for sure."

Since returning last Wednesday in a loss to the Orlando Magic, Rose repeatedly has referenced how happy he is to be back on the floor. He has missed a vast majority of the last three seasons because of major injuries. He tore the ACL in his left knee in April 2012, the medial meniscus in his right knee in November 2013, and the medial meniscus in his right knee again at some point between January and February, resulting in the latest procedure.

Rose has not played in a postseason game since April 28, 2012, the day he tore his ACL in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. The former MVP is looking forward to the challenge that the start of the playoffs will provide next weekend.

"It will be fun," Rose said. "But at the same time, I'm just happy to be playing the game. I'm just happy to be on the floor. This is my life, I dedicated so much to this sport. ... I'm happy where it took not only me, but my family and friends. And I'm just appreciative right now."

Rose remains beholden by the belief that he has plenty more left to give the game of basketball. He was asked if the comparisons to Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill -- players whose careers were littered with injuries during their prime -- is motivating to him.

"I haven't heard it myself, but to think about just knowing that I had injuries and knowing what they had in the past, I could see how they could compare," Rose said. "But my job is to just go out there and prepare myself, my body, for every game.

"I still think I got a lot in me left. I think I'm smart enough to play the game without overusing myself. So it's an honor to be in that group, but I think I got a lot more in my tank."

In the short term, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is hopeful that Rose may be able to play a few more minutes in Monday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets than he did against the 76ers on Saturday.

Rose had one of his best games of the year against the Sixers, scoring 22 points, dishing out eight assists, grabbing six rebounds and racking up three steals while committing no turnovers in almost 29 minutes.

"We'll see how it unfolds," Thibodeau said. "I think the minutes thing is good. I want him to be playing well. So if he's playing well and he can handle the minutes, maybe [he'll play] a few more minutes. But I like where he is right now."