CHICAGO — Derrick Rose doesn't want to close the door on playing this season, maybe if the Chicago Bulls make the playoffs.
The problem is, the Bulls already had closed it.
Rose says that if he can recover from surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee and the Bulls are still playing, he'd be ready to join.
"If I'm healthy and the situation is right, I'll be out there playing," Rose said Thursday. "But if it's something totally different and the outcome isn't something I want, there's no need."
D-ROSE TO BULLS FANS: "I'm not done yet"
BULLS-HEAT: Rivalry lives on without Rose
After Rose tore the medial meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 22 against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Bulls announced that he would miss the rest of the season.
Does this mean we're headed for another postseason with questions about Rose's return? He sat out the entire 2012-13 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs. The Bulls never officially ruled him out for the season until the 2013 playoffs, and that uncertainty led to widespread criticism of Rose's decision to sit.
"To me, he's out for the season," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Thursday. "If something changes along the way. ... We want him to be completely healthy before he moves forward.
"We know where he is. He has to be cleared by the trainers and the doctors. I know how he's going to approach it. He's going to approach it the same way as the ACL. We can't worry about whether he may come back. Right now, it's been determined that he's out for the season, so that's the way we're going to approach it."
Doesn't sound like the door is open.
PHOTOS: Derrick Rose through the pain and glory
Rose, the 2010-11 NBA MVP, has been through this before, though, and perhaps thinks this time will be easier.
"Last year, the rehab part and the training part was all new to me," he said. "I didn't like it. I did it because I wanted to get back out on the court, but it was hell to go through. I think this year, it should be a lot easier. I know what to do."
The reason he didn't come back last season, Rose insisted, was that he wanted to make sure he was fully healthy. He's saying again that when he gets back on the floor he wants to be the player he has been, even after two major knee surgeries.
That, it seems, is the Bulls' point: Don't even think about coming back until it's fully healed.
"I've been an underdog my whole life," Rose said. "I could care less what people say about me criticize my game or how I play or whatever. How I play is how I play. I could tear it 10 more times, and as long as I play hard and give the game my all, I can live with it the rest of my life."
PHOTOS: Biggest current NBA injuries