It's been a long time. A real long time. Derrick Rose used to be one of Chicago's largest active sports stars, if not the top one.
But the last time he played in Chicago was last Nov. 22, when he hurt his knee again. The reality is, he's played all of 10 regular season games since tearing his ACL in the playoff opener in 2012.
Needless to say, it's been a long time. On Saturday, however, he made his return with Team USA. He played 24 minutes, he scored seven points and he helped remind the Chicago fans what they have been missing in the 95-78 exhibition win over Brazil.
In return, they chanted “MVP” when he was introduced.
Can he be the same guy?
The Bulls are banking on Rose again being one of the game's best players. In his last healthy season, he averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 assists per game.
In 2010-11, it was 25.0 points and 7.7 assists, playing in all but one regular season game. That year, he became the youngest player to win the MVP award.
What he has shown
Most reviews of Rose from this summer have said he has shown his normal explosiveness again. He is quick, he can make things happen, and that's how a guy his size can be effective.
He isn't, however, scoring a ton of points. Rose says that is by design.
"I'm playing the way I normally play in the trials," Rose told ESPNChicago.com. "Push the ball, play defense and get guys shots. When the shot is available, take the shot, and I think that's what I did tonight. I had one or two turnovers, but that could easily be changed."
ESPNChicago's Nick Friedell noted that his most impressive play was splitting Brazilian defenders for a third-quarter layup.
"I've been preparing for this for a long time," Rose told ESPNChicago.com. "Probably, if this was a couple weeks ago I wouldn't have been emotional, but right now it feels great. We won the game so that's the only thing I could be happy about -- we won. We didn't lose. If we had lost my whole attitude would have been different. Just take this win, go to New York [Sunday] and just try to keep this going."
Friedell's co-worker, Jon Greenberg, noted that Rose also jumped a little too high and missed a gunk but also had a crossover that turned into a laup for his teammate.
“I just read how he was defending me,” Rose told ESPNChicago.com. “When I came off the pick, it looked like he was confused, and I saw he didn’t have control of his feet a little bit. I look at all those things as an offensive player. And the big was on the other side of the lane, so when I came off [the pick] it was like I had the whole lane to myself.”