INDIANAPOLIS -- Derrick Rose has been trying to tell people for weeks that he's in better shape than ever.
But it was the Chicago Bulls point guard's declaration after playing his first competitive game in more than a year Saturday night that will have many shaking their heads in amazement.
Rose, the former league MVP, said he's gained five inches on his vertical leap since having surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee in May 2012.
"I think I jump higher," Rose said after scoring 13 points in 20 minutes during the Bulls' 82-76 victory against the Indiana Pacers. "I think coming into the league I was at 37 [inches vertical jump] and they tested my vertical at [a training facility], I'm probably at like a 42 [inches], so I'm jumping a little bit higher."
Rose's vertical leap was tested at Athletes' Performance, a training facility in Los Angeles. It was there where he started working with physical therapist Jen Swanson. The two developed a good rapport, and Swanson was recently hired as the Bulls' Director of Sports Performance, a position in which she oversees the team's training staff and is charged with helping keep Rose and his teammates healthy.
Rose, who has spent most of his summers in recent years working out with personal trainer Rob McClanaghan, has repeatedly said he is a more complete player having gone through hours and hours of rehab since the knee surgery.
He definitely looked like his old self Saturday night, aggressively going to the basket and showing no fear attacking the rim.