The Chicago Bulls, playing without Derrick Rose and his sore left knee, got back on the winning track Thursday night (largely thanks to Jimmy Butler’s heroics.)

Rose, 27, admits to being extremely cautious with injuries this year, and has no problem occasionally sitting out to ensure good long-term health.

The former MVP is targeting the 2016-17 campaign for his return to stardom.

Per the Chicago Tribune:

Rose is on pace to play 69 games this season, which would represent his highest total since logging 81 in his 2010-11 most valuable player season. […] It’s clear Rose is using his injury-riddled past to inform his approach. Rose has missed 212 games the previous four seasons, enduring three knee surgeries and various other ailments including a fractured left orbital bone this training camp.

 

“This is all part of the process,” Rose said. “Coming into the season, I was just trying to play as many games as possible. Next year, that’s when I throw in my individual goals. But it’s all about getting a solid season under my belt, playing hard in the playoffs whenever we get there and along the way just being smart and really taking care of my body and pushing my teammates to be better.”

 

“You have to take a cautious approach and he has handled it well,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. […] Rose typically tunes out all outside noise and remained upbeat despite not playing. “Still didn’t have the explosiveness that I would want, but it’s getting better every day, so that’s the good thing,” he said. “It’s frustrating of course when you miss games, but can’t get mad at that. It’s the reality. I just have to deal with it and keep getting treatment like I’ve been doing.”