By Jean-Paul Salamanca ( | First Posted: Feb 15, 2013 12:31 AM EST

Derrick Rose, left, and Rajon Rondo, right, have an uphill fight as they try to recover from ACL surgery. However, there have been other athletes upon their return from that injury who have flourished . (Photo : Reuters)

There are few injuries more devastating and more difficult to come back from for athletes than the dreaded ACL injury--as Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo can attest.

If one listens to the words that have come out of Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose's mouth these day, he doesn't sound anything like a player who is ready to step onto the court anytime soon now.

Rose has largely been silent regarding his progress rehabilitating his surgically repaired ACL of in the months prior to this week, when he told reporters that while he has made several major strides in his recovery, he is still not ready to return to the game just yet.

In fact, Rose said, in a statement that may have tremendous impact on the Bulls' championship aspirations this season...he may not be ready to return before the 2012-13 season ends.

"I'm feeling good," he told the Chicago Tribune. "But if it's where it's taking me a long time and I'm still not feeling right, I don't mind missing this year.

Rose said that he would love to be on the court for the Bulls as soon as possible, but the former league MVP appears unwilling to compromise the stability of his ACL, which he tore in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs in April.

"I would love to (return). That's why I approach my rehab and workouts so hard. I'm trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible. But if I have anything lingering on, it's no point.

"My leg still isn't feeling right. Mentally, I still feel I'm fine. Every week, I'm trying to do something different -stay on my rehab, lift a little more, squat a little more. I'm taking it very serious."

However, in spite of that, Rose insists that he's "feeling pretty good" as his workouts continue, describing himself as "slowly getting back into the mix."

Meanwhile, while Rose continues to fine tune his ACL, Celtics All-Star Rondo, who tore his right ACL Jan. 25 against Atlanta, has just started down the road to recovery after having undergone surgery Wednesday.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe that the surgery went off "great, clean, no complications, no other damage" and added that Rondo--with whom he spoke with after the game--is "determined" to come back better than ever."

"And you know Rondo: He's going to want to come back faster than anybody who's ever returned," he said.

Dr. James Andrews, whom Rondo chose to operate on his leg after multiple opinions, performed on Rondo the same surgery that he performed on Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Rondo believes that he can undergo the same speedy, and effective, path to recovery that Peterson, who recovered from an ACL tear in December 2011 to return to the gridiron last season and win the NFL MVP award.

However, Peterson has warned that not everyone can heal as quickly as he did.

"Everybody's body heals different," he told "That's something nobody is going to understand."

Still, if anything, Peterson's remarkable recovery serves as hope for players who suffer the same injury-which takes eight to 12 months to recover from and can often rob an athlete of the explosiveness they possessed prior to the injury.

Yet, Peterson and other athletes have indeed been able to come back from ACL surgery as good, sometimes better, than ever. Let's take a look at some of those stories:

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

He’s still the gold standard for ACL recovery. The running back dubbed “All Say” reached 1,000 yards rushing in his first four NFL seasons…a streak that was broken on Dec. 24, 2011, when Peterson tore his ACL and had to be helped off the field in a victory over Washington. Remarkably, Peterson returned for Week 1 of last season, and Peterson set NFL fields ablaze at a record pace, rushing for 2,097 yards—only nine yards short of the single season rushing record—and 348 carries for 12 touchdowns, efforts that earned him not only Comeback Player of the Year honors, but the 2012 NFL MVP award, his first one ever.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

The eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL MVP has been the franchise for the Patriots ever since he took the starting quarterback job in 2001 and led New England to three Super Bowl titles. Coming off a record season in which he a season-record 50 touchdowns, his career was jeopardized after Washington redskins safety Bernard Pollard undercut his knee during a tackle in the 2008 preseason that tore Brady's ACL. But after rehabbing for a year, Brady returned in 2009 to pass for 4398 yards with a 65.7 comp pct. Since then, Brady has led the Patriots to two AFC title games and Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.

Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders

Widely considered to be the best wide receiver in NFL history, Rice tore his left ACL in 1997 against Tampa Bay. However, Rice, then 33, made a speedy recovery and came back in 1998 and netted 82 receptions for 1157 yards--at the age of 34, no less--to be named to his 12 Pro Bowl.

Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder

The 6’10 big man that was a big defensive part of Boston’s 2008 NBA title run tore his ACL at the worst possible time--Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2010. However, he returned in 2011 six months ahead of schedule, this time with Oklahoma City, and played a major role in providing toughness in the paint for the young Thunder in last year’s run to the NBA Finals.

Bonzi Wells, Portland Trail Blazers

Loaded with athleticism and a quick step, Wells, the No.11 pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, tore his ACL in the 2000-01 season. However, he recovered to return the following season in 2001-02 and had the best season of his career at 17.0 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting.

Check out this video from that season, where he, Scottie Pippen and Rasheed Wallace pulled together on an amazing highlight sequence against the Mavericks in 91 seconds.

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