CHICAGO — Derrick Rose said he is still dealing with blurred vision as he continues to recover from a fractured left orbital bone and that he is keeping only one eye open when on the court.
“When I’m out there playing, I’m only using one of my eyes,” Rose said after the Bulls’ 97-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. “I close my left eye whenever I’m out there. So I just got used to it from practice.”
Rose suffered the orbital bone fracture on Sept. 29, the first day of practice, after taking a Taj Gibson elbow to the face. He had surgery Sept. 30 and has been wearing a protective mask the past few of weeks.
Rose played 32 minutes and scored 18 points in Tuesday’s win.
The extended playing time was a surprise, given that he played only 10 minutes in Friday’s preseason finale against the Dallas Mavericks and participated in just a handful of practices since the injury.
The limit to Rose’s vision wasn’t readily apparent during the game as the 27-year-old attacked the basket at various points. Rose has had some continuous swelling around the eye, but that has subsided noticeably in recent days.
Rose acknowledged he hasn’t been able to simply blink the eye back into focus as he plays his way back into shape. The blurred vision continued after the game was over, he said.
“I wish it was a blink, but it’s all the time,” he said. “Like right now, I see two of you.”
Rose didn’t look hesitant on the floor even with the mask on.
As he did in his lone preseason appearance, Rose drove to the rim forcefully and didn’t settle for long-range shots the way he often did last season.
Rose took two 3-pointers and sank both of them, going 8-for-22 on the night from the field. He has said several times in the last week that he was not having issues with the mask and has found ways to work around his latest setback.
“I’m a pro,” Rose said. “Not to be cocky or anything but seriously, I’ve been playing this game for a long time. So while I’m out there I’m good enough to still be able to do positive things and help my teammates win. And that’s all I’m trying to do.”
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg seemed pleased with Rose’s performance, especially given the circumstances the former MVP continues to deal with.
“I think he sees three baskets right now,” Hoiberg said. “I told him, ‘Aim for the middle one.’ That’s part of it right now — the depth perception. It’s probably still a little bit off. He’s still out there working on [3s], shooting them, but we want him to be aggressive getting to the basket and making plays for his teammates.”
Rose doesn’t appear concerned the blurred vision will hamper him on the floor.
The Bulls take on the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
“I think I’m all right,” Rose said. “A couple of layups I could have hit, but I think that I’m careful when I’m out there. I’m just trying to get back playing. I miss this game too much.”