Derrick Rose is back for the Bulls after missing all of last season with a knee injury suffered in the 2012 playoffs. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)
Miami — There’s no question the city of Chicago was waiting, impatiently at times, to get Derrick Rose back.
And the same could likely be said about the Bulls franchise.
They weren’t alone. The NBA was waiting as well.
When Rose’s comeback commences for real on Opening Night in Miami on Oct. 29 against the two-time defending champion Heat, there’s no question league officials will be savoring the return of one of their biggest sources of star power. Rose sells tons of jerseys, sells tons of tickets, gets more people watching on television and almost certainly will raise the quality of play in the Eastern Conference.
Sure, it’s better for opponents when he spends an entire season in suits.
For the game, it’s better when he’s back on the floor.
“Obviously, he’s one of our better players in the league,” said Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, a native of Chicago. “You miss a guy as dynamic as that. The league as a whole missed him.. So I’m sure for the city of Chicago, as he’s a guy who really believes in and loves the city, I’m sure they’re ecstatic.”
Rose was the NBA’s MVP in 2011, and has played in 40 of the Bulls 166 games since because of a number of injuries — the most serious of them being a torn-up left knee suffered in Chicago’s first playoff game in 2012. Some suggested that because of his athleticism and commitment to rehabilitation, he would only miss a few months.
By the time he returned to the court earlier during this exhibition season, more than 17 months had passed without Rose in uniform.
By the time Rose plays in a game for real, it will be 18 months and one day since his knee gave way and rendered him to endless questions about why he could be practicing but not playing.
Some of his NBA colleagues understood that logic.
“I thought it was very smart of him not to rush back,” Cleveland guard Jarrett Jack said.
Rose had the top-selling NBA jersey in China, Latin America and Europe last season.
TNT is taking its NBA pregame studio show to New York for the opening night of the season, part of a three-day celebration.
Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smithand Ernie Johnson will broadcast live Oct. 29 from Flatiron Plaza at Broadway and Fifth Avenue.
... The Cavaliers are retiring the jersey of former center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the team’s career leader in games and rebounds.
... Denver guard Nate Robinson was fined $10,000 for pushing Oklahoma City’s Steven Adamsfrom behind and striking him in the chest during an exhibition.
... The Hawks waived forward James Johnson.
... Thunder center Hasheem Thabeet was suspended one game without pay for head-butting Pelicans center Greg Stiemsma.