Derrick Rose unsure of return

LOS ANGELES -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said Tuesday he still isn't sure if he will return to the court this season, but he said the last hurdle is mental rather than physical as he recovers from surgery on his left ACL.

ESPNChicago.com, citing a team source, reported Friday that Rose has been cleared to play but he doesn't feel the confidence dunking off his left foot.

"I think I can do everything, it's just me having the confidence to do it," Rose said before practice. "Just me feeling normal."

Rose tore his ACL on April 28 and underwent surgery on May 12.

"I really don't know [about a return this season]," Rose said. "I'm just like you all where I'm waiting till that day where I feel normal.

"Until then I would just wait. I haven't had any pressure from the organization and no one else to push me to go out there and play. My teammates have been doing great with just playing hard for me. They're still out there playing hard, fighting, so that's a good sign and we're winning games, so I'm not worried about anything right now."

Rose said his agent and former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong advised him to make sure he's 100 percent before returning. The Bulls are 35-28, the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference, and continue to chase Indiana and its four-game lead in the division.

"Just take my time" was Armstrong's biggest piece of advice, Rose said. "If I rush back and something was to happen everybody would say, 'Why did you rush back?' Just taking my time and being prepared and knowing when I come back I want to be 100 percent, that's fine."

Rose told ESPN's Doris Burke before Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers that his hamstrings were "on fire" after workouts, but both Rose and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau downplayed that as part of the recovery process.

"They're just waking up," Rose said. "They're getting a lot stronger but they're coming along. I'm moving in the right direction. I haven't taken any steps back, so that's a good thing."

Thibodeau said Rose won't play Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, but he's not worried about the hamstrings.

"(The burning hamstrings are) all part of his recovery, so nothing has really changed," Thibodeau said. "He just has to keep doing what he's doing and when he gets comfortable he'll go."

The Bulls source told ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson that while the team will support whatever decision Rose makes, they would prefer he return this season, the source said, "and get it under his belt, rather than wonder all summer if he could."

Rose discussed whether the mental part of his return is tougher than the physical.

"I just think with any surgery you're just going to have to get over that hump and that's what I'm doing now," he said. "Where I'm able to play but just getting over that hump I should be fine."

Rose seemed to be in good spirits as he spoke to local reporters for the first time since Feb. 13 after a game against the Boston Celtics.

"Right now I'm feeling about the same, where my leg is getting a lot stronger," he said. "Just trying to be patient."

Rose said that despite there being just 19 games left in the regular season, there is no date that he would view as too late to return.

Reggie Rose told ESPNChicago.com on Feb. 21 that the Bulls' lack of improvement before the NBA trade deadline would have a big impact on when his brother returns. Derrick Rose didn't agree, but he didn't criticize his brother.

"My brother is my brother," he said. "Where I'm going to have his back no matter what. The comments, he just felt he had to say something, that's his opinion.

"I feel like the organization has been doing a great job of getting people around me but he just had to get it off his chest."

Derrick Rose wouldn't say that he's confident he'll return this season.

"I don't know. I'm just coming back when I feel normal," he said. "If that's in a couple of days, that's great, if it's not I'm fine."