by Aggrey Sam / @CSNBullsInsider

As much as I hated to leave the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas after watching just one day of action last month, my subsequent trip to L.A. was worth it. I got a chance to catch up with Derrick Rose and while it was good to talk to him on the record about his recovery from May ACL surgery, his new kicks and gear, the Bulls’ offseason and even his devastating injury, it was much more gratifying just to see him doing well.

I cover the Bulls and I’m not from Chicago, so it’s easy for me to look at the team from a more clinical perspective, but Derrick is one of the more genuine people—not just NBA players—that I know, period. Living in the Windy City, it’s impossible not to notice how the mood of his hometown turned melancholy immediately after he went down on that fateful late April afternoon, so to see him in such an upbeat mood was great to see.

I’ll stop rambling in a second, since you can watch the video of our interview in Hollywood, but I’ll say this: Derrick won’t be the same exact player immediately after he returns to the hardwood, but especially after talking to him, more than ever, I believe that he’ll get back to the level he was at before, then improve upon it. If anyone is built, both mentally and physically, to handle the adversity of such a severe injury, get through the rigors of a long rehab process and obliterate whatever revised expectations people have for his future, it’s @drose.

Aggrey Sam covers the Chicago Bulls for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.