Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bulls' Rose poised for return, ready to dominate

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CHICAGO -- The "MVP! MVP!" chants rained down on Derrick Rose just as they did before he was injured. Now that he's poised to return, the Chicago Bulls star figures to hear them again on a regular basis.

Rose believes he's ready to dominate again and help his team contend for a championship.

With training camp set to open this week, the former MVP point guard said there are no lingering issues with his surgically repaired left knee.

"Who knows when I'm going to get my rhythm?" he said. "It might take one game. It might take five games, 10 games. Who knows? I think me having that relationship with my teammates and them knowing that and not just depending on me right away. Just knowing that I'm just trying to fit in with them... my job is to come in, run the game and get them open shots and play aggressive. I think the guys on the team know that. And me knowing that, too, I think it's going to be a smooth year, a smooth process."

Asked if he has any doubts he'll regain his MVP form, Rose said, "No."

"I put so much into my craft," he said. "I'm working hard. I think I'm one of the hardest workers in the NBA, if not the hardest worker. I think you should see it in my game when I step on the court."

Rose spoke Sunday before a youth event at the United Center to promote next month's launch of his latest signature adidas basketball shoe and apparel.

He hasn't played since he crumpled to the floor with a torn ACL near the end of Game 1 of the 2012 playoff opener against Philadelphia, an injury that sent the top-seeded Bulls toward a first-round playoff exit and put their championship hopes on hold.

Now Rose believes they're back in the championship picture.

"I think it's close," Rose said. "With the same team, the nucleus, that we have, we made it to the conference finals with a couple plays that could have easily changed the outcome."

He's added muscle, which he believes will help his jump shot and cut back on the wear and tear his body absorbs.

With their superstar back, the Bulls are eyeing a deep playoff run. Rose sees no reason why they can't challenge Miami for supremacy in the Eastern Conference, since that's exactly what they were doing before he went down.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 23, 2013 C6

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