DEERFIELD | Last season is one which Derrick Rose would love to forget, though his lack of transparency was difficult to forgive.
It became a tedious, often malicious, waiting game between fans, media and Bulls management as to when "The Franchise" would return after surgery on the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee suffered in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs with Philadelphia.
Rose never did suit up, despite numerous reports he had been medically cleared by team doctors and the roster riddled by injuries. He watched Miami eliminate his Bulls in the 2013 conference semifinals and felt the wrath of social media.
Bulls brass was also flustered. You could see it in the faces, hear it in the voices, of general manager Gar Forman and coach Tom Thibodeau.
During Friday's media day at the Berto Center, both charged that the criticism of Rose was unwarranted, claiming he was simply following the orders of team owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
"Jerry made it very clear from the beginning as to how he wanted to approach it — to be cautious and make sure you're completely healthy," Thibodeau said. "He told (Rose) he didn't want him to come back until he was 100 percent, and that's exactly what he did.
"And then, he got criticized for it. The people that criticized him don't know what the hell they're talking about."
Back up, Skip. Some of that criticism leaked out from the Bulls front office, off the record, of course.
To watch Forman and Thibodeau grandstand on Friday was unfortunate, considering they should've kept the public constantly updated on Rose's chances of returning.
During the Miami series, we were led to believe Rose might suit up and save the day even though he had already decided not to. Then announce it. Clear the air. End the suspense. Don't be a distraction for your team.
It took until Friday for Rose to address the criticism he had received, finally.
"You have to look at both sides. As fans of how I play, of course, I'd want my favorite player to be back out there," he said. "But at the same time, I have to be selfish with the thought of me going out there and injuring myself again.
"I don't want to put myself in that position."
Rose added that many of his friends would tell him when negative stuff was being said or written about him, but all he could do was press on with his rehab.
And then, he told us the reason he blew off 2012.
"I never felt like I could take on a double team in the playoffs, so I had to make a decision on not coming back," Rose said. "I knew that I could get past one person but in the playoffs, people are gonna throw different strategies and defenses at you."
If only that revelation had come sooner, the dogs would've been called off. Instead, we got Thibodeau telling us "Derrick looks good; you never know" regarding his playing status.
Rose expects to play in all the preseason games and is leaving his minutes up to Thibodeau, whom Forman said does a great job "pacing" his players' court time. We know that's not true, right?
"I'm gonna play the same way," Rose assured us. "Winning a championship is the only thing missing on my resume. This is the best time to do it, with everybody watching."
Including those who don't know what the hell they're talking about.