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Derrick Rose finally made his return to the basketball court Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers in the Chicago Bulls' preseason opener.
After being away from the game for 17 months following knee surgery, the 2010-2011 league MVP had 13 points in 20 minutes of play, in addition to three assists. The stats are not what is important though. Rose looked like his old self, happy to be back out playing the game he loves. His speed seemed to be where it should be, he showed it off with a fast break dunk, and he was quick and explosive at times.
"I've been preparing myself for this moment for a year and a half now," Rose said after the game. "So just getting prepared for this and continue to go out there and know how blessed I am to be stepping back on the court again, especially with these guys that dedicated their whole summer to trying to make this team better. I'm fortunate to be on this team and blessed to be in this organization and playing for Thibs [coach Tom Thibodeau] and the coaching staff."
ESPN reports Coach Thibodeau missed his star point guard dearly.
"It was good to have him back for sure," Thibodeau said. "I think you see how he makes the game easier for everybody. And the speed with which he plays, you got to get accustomed to that, too. His teammates have to get used to it again. He has to get used to it. But overall I thought he played very, very well. Some rust, but that's to be expected. But you could see as each minute went by he got more and more comfortable, and he ran the team great."
Along with all the good came some bad, however. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rose showed he has a little rust to shake off, committing four turnovers (two back to back) and throwing two consecutive free throws extremely short.
The biggest positive we can take form this game is that Rose was not hesitant, as he drove down the lane right into the chest of shot blocker Roy Hibbert.
"Same old Derrick Rose," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "He looked great."
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons