Bulls’ Rose finally returns to United Center
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
CHICAGO — It didn’t take long for Chicago Bulls fans to be reminded what they were missing when Derrick Rose sat out last season.
On the Bulls’ first possession of Wednesday’s preseason game against the Detroit Pistons, Rose drove to the basket on a pass from Joakim Noah and made a layup, scoring the first points of the game.
It was a night the fans had been wanting to see for a long time. Rose, back on the floor in Chicago. It was the first 2013-14 preseason game at the United Center, Rose’s first game back since since the tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on April 28, 2012.
“I’ve been waiting 500-something days for this,” Bulls fan Joe Currie, 28, said before tipoff.
As the Bulls took the court for shootaround, fans were still filing into their seats. But by the time the lights dimmed and their iconic intro song (the Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius,” which has been the team’s entrance music since Michael Jordan’s era) started, the building was electric.
After introducing the other four starters — forwards Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, center Noah and guard Mike Dunleavy — Bulls public address announcer Tommy Edwards took an extra pause before introducing, “From Chicago, No. 1, Derrick Rose.” And the United Center crowd gave a deafening roar.
“We have great support here and we appreciate it,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. “But as I told the players, we can’t rely on our fans to get the job done. We have to give them something to cheer about. So we have to play hard, we have to play smart, we have to play together.
“I think we have very knowledgeable fans here, and there’s an appreciation for that.”
The crowd gave a loud cheer the first time Rose touched the ball and applauded his effort early. He looked like the Rose of old, moving aggressively and not favoring the surgically repaired knee.
“I think he’ll be OK,” Currie said. “I don’t want him to push his knee too hard, but the last games he looked like he got his quickness … [For more on Bulls' Derrick Rose finally returns to United Center, click here.]