Derrick Rose's return for the Chicago Bulls next season is amongst the most eagerly anticipated talking points ahead of the 2014-15 campaign.
After a succession of knee injuries the 2011 NBA MVP is looking to return to his best for the windy city franchise, and, speaking at a launch event for Adidas, Rose had some strong words for his doubters:
"I still have goals. Seeing those doubters out there, it's gonna be funny seeing them eat their words," said the 2009 Draft's first overall pick.
Fighting talk indeed from a man who is clearly on a mission to make up for lost time. That mission will begin when he lines up for Team USA at this summer's FIBA World Cup, and will (without any unforeseen circumstances) continue as he looks to help the Bulls build on what was a hit-and-miss campaign last time out.
And if he can return to anywhere near his best the Bulls will be a dangerous proposition next time out - especially considering their troubles on the offensive side of the ball last season in contrast to their defensive resilience.
Derrick Rose is without a doubt one of the most talented players to emerge in the NBA over the past five years. Unfortunately for him, and the Chicago Bulls, the site of Rose tearing up the hardwood has been consigned to memory for much of the past three.
After taking MVP honors during the 2010-11 season, Rose helped the Bulls into the playoffs the following year only to succumb to a knee injury in Game One of the postseason agains the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rose didn't return to full practice until January of 2013 and missed the entire 2012-13 season as rehabilitation on the injury continued.
Returning for the 2013-14 season, Derrick Rose had hoped to aid the Bulls after two years of playoff failure. But just one month, and 10 regular-season outings, into his long-awaited return the player again suffered injury heartbreak. This time an MRP scan confirmed a meniscus injury in his right knee - consigning Rose to the sidelines until now.
As with any player who has been out for a prolonged period, there are always questions as to whether they will be able to return to the heights previously attained prior to their layoff.
That has been the case with Derrick Rose, with many doubting his longevity in the game as well as his ability to regain the form which saw him named the league's best player in 2011.
Famous incidents such as jeff Van Gundy's snipe at Rose during a live broadcast of a Bulls-Knicks game back in March (seen below) have clearly given Rose a fairly large chip on his shoulder however.
And as anyone who has watched professional sport knows, a high class player fighting their way out of a corner is a dangerous proposition.
Lets just hope Rose is given enough time to prove himself, by both his critics and the NBA fan base, as he looks to make his latest comeback.
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