Rose squashed rumors that he might make his long-anticipated return from surgery on his left knee against LeBron James and the Heat with two words at the morning shootaround: "Not tonight.'' The comments came in the wake of a Twitter post by rapper Waka Flocka Flame, who wrote, "Word is D.Rose back.''
Rose and the rapper are fans of each other, but the former MVP said he's not sure when he'll be back. He said his return is "in God's hands.''
Rose hasn't played since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in last year's playoff opener against Philadelphia, and his comeback has been an ongoing soap opera. The Heat arrived with a 27-game win streak, trailing only the 33 straight by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72, and he would have loved nothing more than to play against them.
Then again, he wants to play, period.
"Every game is tough,'' he said. "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 here.''
Rose has been full participant in practice the past five weeks. There haven't been any setbacks, but he still feels "the same,'' meaning there's still pain in the knee when he increases his work. Even so, he said staying patient in his recovery hasn't been difficult, and he doesn't think he'll have any uncertainty with the knee next fall if he sits out this season.
"Not at all,'' he said. "I know the confidence I have in myself and what type of player I am. When I step on the court, I think I'm going to be better. I know I'm going to be better. I'm not worried about that.''
Coach Tom Thibodeau, who when asked if he had heard of Waka Flocka Flame, responded: "I hear the guys talking about him.'' He didn't miss a beat, either, when told one of the rapper's songs is, "Hard in Da Paint.''
"I'm for that,'' he said. "I like him more now.''