Derrick Rose‘s doctor has cleared the Chicago Bulls‘ star to play, a team source said, but his long-awaited return to the lineup won’t occur until he can confidently dunk off his left foot, Rose has told the team. Rose, who had surgery to repair a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on May 12, has been videotaped dunking off each foot, but more casually than he would during a game. A source said that although he has been practicing and scrimmaging hard, he told the Bulls that until he feels “in his mind” he can confidently dunk off his left foot in a game situation, he is not 100 percent mentally ready to return to competition.

The team is not pressuring Rose, the source said, but the Bulls are confident he will return this season and are still hoping for a mid-March return, which would mark 10 months after his surgery. The Bulls play at Golden State on March 15. The source said the team has been assured by Rose’s doctor that there is no more chance of the former MVP getting injured upon his return than anyone else and that the doctor told the Bulls that physically “he can play now.” Rose is now dealing with the psychological side of trusting his body.

 

Well this is something. Our star point guard has basically gone full on Ricky Bobby on us. Rolling around the court like he’s on fire and his knee is still torn.

 

But this is what it is. I’m not going to sit here and criticize D-Rose for this. People who say he’s wrong for taking this long are meatballs, plain and simple. If he’s not ready, he’s not ready. It sucks that he can’t play tonight but none of us can get in his head. None of us know what he’s going through. D-Rose plays the game a very specific way. He has an explosiveness and ability to beat people on every inch of the court that few, if any players in the NBA have. And part of that is clearly mental. Trusting his own body to do things that everyone else can only dream of. So if it’s not there it’s not there. But we’re close. And when we get there, when the lights dim and we hear FROOOOOM CHIIIICAGOOO for the first time, well that will be something won’t it.