(CBS) After missing the entire 2012-13 season with a torn ACL, point guard Derrick Rose promised he’d be ready when the Bulls return to action in October.
“I should be able to play in the first game of season,” Rose said at an Adidas event in Spain on Monday morning. “I know I’m anxious right now to play. My health is everything right now, it’s 100 percent. But right now, the first game… I will definitely be playing it.”
Though most critics would argue otherwise, Rose even believes the Bulls can compete with the elite teams in the East next season.
“This next season is huge for us,” Rose said. “We’re definitely a contender for the title this year. I’ve been talking to my guys, trying to be more vocal as a leader, just texting them, calling them, just trying to communicate with them to let them know that I will be there next year.”
Rose, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since April 28, 2012, was cleared to play by team physicians in March, though the former MVP chose to sit out the remainder of the season and the playoffs, leaving some to question the star’s mental toughness.
Rose quickly squashed that thought.
“(Mentally) I’m just (as) strong as I’ve been,” Rose said. “I had the time to think about what’s important in my life, getting better on the court, watching a lot of film with Thibs, asking him questions, talking to him about two times a week… So he’s been kind of a professor to me.”