Derrick Rose disputed the theory he’s waiting until next season to play so that he can return without a minutes limit and said he would keep open the option of returning from knee surgery even during a Bulls’ playoff run.

“Oh, no,” Rose said, when asked if he’d announce he’s sitting out this season. “I’m keeping it open.”

After Sunday’s game against the Pistons, the Bulls have just six regular-season games remaining.

“I’m not trying to think about that right now,” Rose said. “I’m just trying to get better. I’m just trying to help my teammates, give them confidence to go out there and play hard. I’ll play whenever I’m ready to play. Who knows when I’m ready to? Right now, all I can do is just cheer on my teammates.”

Rose first scrimmaged on Feb. 18 and has said whether he returns is as much a mental hurdle as a physical one at this point. Playing on a minutes limit wouldn’t bother him.

“I wouldn’t mind at all,” he said. “Of course I want to play more. But it’s not that big. I’m going to play whenever I’m ready. I don’t care if it’s 15 or 40 (minutes). I just love the game too much. Like I said, I’m just waiting and praying about it. And hopefully I’ll be out there soon.”

Since the likelihood of Rose sitting out the season increases with each day, he got asked if having another summer of rehabilitation and drill work would benefit him.