The wait for Chicago Bulls star guard Derrick Rose to return dragged on and on last season. And then never actually happened. But unless something goes wrong, look for D-Rose to be an actual basketball player again in 2013-14.

Derrick Rose

As soon as Derrick Rose made the strategic, long-term decision to sit out all of last season after left knee surgery, the plan shifted to next season.

And that plan, for now, is for the Bulls to use training camp and exhibition games to ease Rose back. And then, barring an unforeseen setback, it’s all systems go for the yet-to-be-announced season opener.

“The benefit is the additional months that he has had to prepare for next season,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But that also adds to the time in which he hasn’t played.

“There’s nothing you can do to simulate the intensity of an NBA game. Even the preseason isn’t quite what the regular season is. He needs to get his timing back. So it will be a step-by-step process (in the preseason). We won’t know until he gets out there. But he’s healthy.”

Reported by K.C. Johnson of theĀ Chicago Tribune

Hopefully Rose is still as athletic and explosive as he was before. He may not be right away, but if all goes well he’ll look like himself as time goes on.