What an incredible 17 months it has been for Derrick Rose. From the day he collapsed to the United Center floor on April 28, 2012, to tonight, when he'll take the court in a preseason game against the Indiana Pacers, his journey to recovery has been well-documented, scrutinized by some and defended by those around him. For whatever decisions he and the Bulls training staff made, it's now all in the past as the former MVP has returned to lead the Bulls back into the playoffs and potentially to a seventh NBA championship.
Here are 26 of the most notable updates on his recovery:
April 28, 2012: With 70 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the Bulls-Sixers opening round playoff series, Rose drives to the basket and lands awkwardly on his left knee after making a jump pass. Aggrey Sam described the injury — first described as a “left knee injury — saying Rose was “heavily” favoring the knee.
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April 29, 2012: In the wee hours of the morning, Sam confirms that Rose indeed has torn his ACL, ending his playoff campaign and likely the majority of his 2013 season. The devastating blow to the franchise puts the Bulls’ “championship aspirations on hold,” and makes many wonder “what kind of player he’ll be after he returns.”
May 12, 2012: Rose undergoes ACL surgery, with a source reporting he ‘looked great” after with no complications or surprises coming out of it. Rose is given a six-to-eight-month timetable for his recovery.
June 3, 2012: Rose continues his rehabilitation, already walking in a soft brace on the surgically-repaired knee and, according to a source, in high spirits. Rose’s older brother, Reggie, vows his younger brother will return before All-Star Weekend.
August 8, 2012: First-round draft pick Marquis Teague agrees to a deal with the Bulls, finalizing the team’s offseason moves to revamp the point guard position without Rose. In addition to selecting Teague, the Bulls sign Nate Robinson to a one-year deal and Kirk Hinrich to a two-year deal, replacing C.J. Watson (Brooklyn) and John Lucas III (Toronto).
August 11, 2012: In an interview with WMVP-AM 1000, Bulls’ chairman Jerry Reinsdorf says the franchise will be overly cautious in dealing with Rose’s injury. He cites not wanting a repeat of Michael Jordan, who broke his foot in his second season and missed 64 games. Jordan did not suffer any secondary issues when he returned, but Reinsfor says he does not want to gamble on a slasher like Rose.
August 15, 2012: In an exclusive interview with Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam, Rose opens up publicly for the first time on the injury, his exhaustive rehabilitation and a potential return date. Later that day Rose tweets out an image from his new Twitter account of him shooting in the Berto Center with the text, “Feels good to be back in the gym…”
September 13, 2012: Rose releases his new shoe and clothing line with adidas, and is reduced to tears after a video of shown of Rose speaking about providing for his mother, being a positive role model in the Chicago community and rehabbing his injured knee.
October 1, 2012: Rose speaks at the Bulls’ official media day, saying it has been difficult for him to practice patience in not doing too much during his rehabilitation. He says he is still scared to make any cuts, though a conversation with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson—who tore his ACL the previous winter—has helped his spirits. Rose says, “I know God has a plan and he does things for a reason, so hopefully the reason is for me to get stronger and come back a better player.”
October 16, 2012: Rose shoots on the United Center floor 90 minutes before the Bulls contest against the Bucks, doing so for the first time in front of media members.
November 13, 2012: Rose begins cutting on his left knee for the first time, with Tom Thibodeau declaring Rose is neither ahead of schedule nor behind schedule: “He’s exactly where he should be,” the head coach tells reporters.
December 3, 2012: Rose is seen jogging at the Berto Center without a brace, though no reports suggest he is any closer to his return to the Bulls lineups.
December 30, 2012: For the first time since his injury, Rose is a full participant (non-contact) in the Bulls’ practices and is scheduled to travel with the team. A source tells Aggrey Sam, however, that Rose must still return to Southern California for consultation with medical specialists before he begins to participate in contact drills.
January 8, 2013: Tom Thibodeau announces that Rose is taking “predictable contact” in practice, with the next step being three-on-three scrimmages. One day later, his Bulls teammates expressed encouragement over what Rose has done in his short practice stints.
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January 24, 2013: Rose takes a major step in his progress, according to Tom Thibodeau, participating in contact drills with him teammates. Aggrey Sam spoke exclusively with multiple members of the organization who were optimistic with Rose’s participation in practices, but wouldn’t divulge on any timetable.
February 13, 2013: USA Today runs an exclusive interview with Rose in which the point guard admits he will not return until he’s “110 percent” healthy, saying that may be in “a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time.” Thibodeau stays tight-lipped the next day, saying “When he’s ready, he’ll play. I’m not concerned about it.”
February 13, 2013: Rose also speaks with Chicago media before the Bulls’ matchup in Boston, telling reporters “my leg still isn’t feeling right.” He admits there have been no setbacks in his rehab and is no longer scared of taking contact.
February 21, 2013: Reggie Rose, Derrick's brother, speaks on WMVP-AM 1000, saying the Bulls have not pieced together enough pieces to help the franchise make a run at a championship, and that his brother has no reason to come back because of it. Rose then issues a statement to calm the storm, saying “ I have always felt that the Bulls organization’s goals have been the same as mine, and that is to bring another championship to this city.
March 3, 2013: Rose sits on the Bulls bench for the first time since his injury in the Bulls’ loss to the Pacers. Thibodeau says this is the next step in Rose’s progress, that he has spent most games doing rehabilitation exercises instead of watching the game court-side.
March 12, 2013: Rose says he believes he can do everything on his injured left knee, but “it’s just me having the confidence to do it. It’s just me feeling normal.” He admits he doesn’t know if he’ll play this season, but that he doesn’t feel any pressure from his coaching staff, teammates or anyone in the organization to return.
March 21, 2013: In the last week, Rose’s status on the injury report has been upgraded to day-to-day, but Rose insisted that he is still unsure of when he may rejoin the Bulls’ lineup. He tells reporters that “only God knows” when he will be ready, and that his explosiveness is returning and he isn’t worried about losing any height on his vertical jump. The Bulls’ energy and attitude on the court, Rose says, “makes me want to be out there, too. But you’ve got to look at the big picture.”
April 17, 2013: The Bulls finish their regular season with a 95-92 win over the Wizards, completing their schedule without Rose. The Bulls earn the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and Tom Thibodeau, on the heels of his team’s matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, says Rose is “most likely out” for the entire playoffs, but adds, “you never know.”
May 6, 2013: The injury-ridden Bulls will their way to a Game 7 win over the Nets, advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the top-seeded Miami Heat. Before the start of Game 1, Rose says his chances of playing are “still in the air. I might have a chance.” Rose admits it’s unlikely he’ll play but that he wants to be honest about the situation and that he’s trying to make the smartest decision for his future.
May 15, 2013: The Bulls are knocked out of the playoffs by the Heat in five games, as Rose officially misses the entire 2012-13 season. Dwyane Wade’s fourth quarter explosion allows Miami a 94-91 win at home to advance to the Eastern Finals, where they eventually beat the Indiana Pacers in seven games and beat the San Antonio Spurs in seven games to win their second consecutive championship.
July 25, 2013: In an interview with CNN, Rose tells reporter Pedto Pinto that he believes he is the best player in the NBA.
September 9, 2013: As preseason nears, CSN Chicago takes a look at how Derrick Rose’s jump shot may improve in the upcoming season. With plenty of time spent working on his outside game while recovering from ACL surgery, history indicates players who suffer torn ligaments in their knee are better jump shooters the year following their season-ending injury, something Rose agrees with.
October 4, 2013: “The Return” nears, as Rose tells reporters he is excited about a “fresh start” with the Bulls and not having to answer any more questions about when he may be back on the court. Though he says he’s in the best shape of his life and is antsy to get on the court, he admits “getting in the flow of the game” and getting up to game speed, something he hasn’t done in 17 months, will be an issue.
October 5, 2013: After 526 days, Rose finally makes his return to the court, scoring 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting in 20 minutes, looking like the former MVP in the way he cuts, drives to the basket and shoots.