Derrick Rose

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose works out before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoff series against the Miami Heat. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images / May 15, 2013)

Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose missed the entire 2012-13 NBA season while rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, a decision that brought him a lot of criticism.

The Bulls anticipated that Rose would return after the All-Star game break, and he was medically cleared to play on March 9. However, Rose said he didn't feel comfortable stepping onto the court in a game situation.

"It was hard," Rose told Bulls TV. "One of the hardest things I've had to go through in my life. After surgery, when you start running ... when you have an injury like this, there is stages you have to go through. I'm still going through my stages. I'm not done yet, but this is the most I've ever worked on my craft and the most focused I've ever been in my NBA career.

"I'm not a selfish guy at all, but having this injury and going through what I had to go through and being smart, it's something that I had to be selfish with. I couldn't worry about anyone else but myself and my health."

Former players such as Charles Barkley and Steve Kerr publicly questioned why Rose would remain sidelined after he was told he could play and had been participating in practices. 

"When you're in practice, of course it's not like game-like speed, unless it's like training camp," Rose told Bulls TV. "Game-like experience is totally different when you have strategy, this and that, double teams. When I play, I get double-teamed a lot. We play the same defense [in practice] we play in the game, so there wasn't any double-teams. So I was able to roam around freely. And in a game ... I wasn't able to take on that double-team yet.

"Every day I was working out like my leg is going to feel better. I was pushing myself every day, eating right, trying to take care of my body so that I can be out there as soon as possible. But it didn't happen."

Without Rose, the 2010-11 NBA MVP, the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual championship-winning Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I was very, very impressed with them," Rose said. "It seemed like they were playing for me. They saw how hard I was working in practice, just trying to rebuild my leg."

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