It would have been a historic and dramatic return, but alas, it is not to be. Derrick Rose will not return to the lineup for the Chicago Bulls for the first time this season Wednesday night vs. the Miami Heat as the Bulls attempt to end the Heat's 27-game winning streak in Chicago.
"Every game is tough," Rose said after Wednesday's morning shootaround at the Berto Center. "Knowing that it's the Heat adds on a little bit. But I have a lot of confidence in my guys and the coaching staff."
So Rose will sit out again, as Bulls fans continue to wonder whether he'll return at all this season. Meanwhile, Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli are game-time decisions vs. the Heat, who expect to have Dwyane Wade back after a two-game absence.
Chicago has been racked with injuries in the second half of the season, but Rose's absence is still the most prominent. He continues to practice in five-on-five situations, but just doesn't feel up to playing at game speed.
Holding Rose out for the Heat game might be the smart play regardless of his condition, though. Having to face LeBron James and the playoff-geared Heat in your first game in nearly 12 months is not exactly ideal. Better to ease him back in. But of course, the Bulls are running out of time on that plan as well.