words // Brandon Richard
images // Nick DePaula
It's been a year and a half since we've seen Derrick Rose take the court for a game that matters. That all changes tonight, when his Chicago Bulls open up the 2013-2014 NBA season against the defending champion and rival Miami Heat.
You know the story — with less than a minute and half remaining in Game 1 of Chicago's First Round series against the Philadelphia 76ers in April 2012, Rose went to the floor after awkwardly planting his left knee on a jump stop. The diagnosis was a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a devastating injury that would force him to miss the rest of the playoffs and the 2012 Olympics.
Little did we know the injury would also sideline him for the entire 2012-2013 season. Despite a return marketing campaign and NFL star Adrian Peterson doing remarkable things on the field just 10 months after a similar injury, Rose took a patient approach. Under intense scrutiny from fans and the media, he battled his way back to 100% at the expense of what could have been a very deep Bulls playoff run.
Earlier this month, Rose made his highly anticipated preseason debut, showing his critics that he knew what he was doing all along. He's playing fast, explosive and may have a better all-around game than he did before going down last April. The Bulls went 8-0 during the preseason, Rose averaging 20 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. Even more eye-opening, his shooting averages were way up from the last time we saw him play. Rose shot 47.6% overall, up from 43.5% during his last NBA season. He was also 44.4% from three, up from 31.2% a few years ago. If those numbers are any indication, Rose could very well be looking at a second MVP season.
Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves though - we're just happy to see him back. #THERETURN is on and it's going down tonight. Before tip-off, enjoy a detailed look at the 'Away' adidas REV30 that Derrick Rose will be wearing at AmericanAirlines Arena.