Derrick Rose has been cleared to play by his doctors, according to an ESPN report.
The only hindrance to the point guard returning to the lineup is him confidently dunking off his left foot in game situations. It’s important to note that while he has been seen and videotaped jumping and dunking off of both legs, it’s never been at game speed and has been more casual than explosive.
This is consistent with what Rose told reporters after a Feb 13 loss at Boston, in which he said; “I can’t dunk, man. I know if I can dunk off stride, I know I’ll be out there playing. But I can’t.”
"I'm feeling good, but like I said, if it's where it's taking me a long time and I'm still not feeling right, I don't mind missing this year," he said. "I would love to [return]. I would love to. That's why I approached my rehab and my workout so hard. I'm trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible, but if I have anything lingering on, it's no point."
During that same meeting with reporters, Rose also said he would consult with those he’s around like agent B.J. Armstrong, team trainers and team officials -- but the decision is ultimately up to him and his confidence to return to the floor.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau updated his status to “day-to-day” on Tuesday and reiterated that when he’s ready, the team will know.
Today’s report also said the team is hopeful for a mid-March return, which would mark 10 months after he underwent surgery to repair a torn left ACL on May 12 and would indicate the first possible game he would play in would be March 15 in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.
While it seems like physically he has met all the goals that were prioritized in his return, the mental aspect is the last hurdle facing Rose. Like Thibodeau has stressed all season long, everyone just has to be patient.