Originally written on Wizards Extreme  |  Last updated 11/18/14
“Leave it all out on the floor.” Sports has, and always will be a large compilation of clichés and mantras which we often carry over into real life. “Play like a champion”, “Lead by example”, “Play every game like it’s your last.” On and on goes the list that is large enough to have its own book.  When we look at the superstars and the leaders in any sport, there are several common traits that we admire. Attitude.  Confidence.  Toughness.  Desire. As of late, all four have been called into question on a national stage for Chicago point guard, Derrick Rose. The story of Rose suffering a gruesome ACL injury a year ago, from which he has been rehabbing is well known.  By all accounts, he has poured his heart and soul into getting back to where he was and returning from injury sooner rather than later.  His team just went through a grueling seven game series and pulled off a game 7 road victory, only to be rewarded with the task of playing the defending world champion Miami Heat.  Throw in the fact that their starting lineup is decimated with injuries and the need for Rose’s return grows even larger.  Joakim Noah looks like a man walking with wooden legs, Luol Deng is in the hospital for complications from a spinal tap, Nate Robinson was vomiting and sick with a stomach virus, and Kirk Hinrich has been out with a calf injury. The recent outpouring of anger against Rose isn’t because of him not playing due to injury – it is because of him not playing despite recovering from said injury.  Rose has been scrimmaging with the team and cleared by doctors since February 18th.  By all accounts, he has been playing very well.  Sure, he might not be at the level he was prior to injury, but anyone that would be expecting that is nonsensical. The Chicago Bulls need Rose to play, even if it is for 10 minutes a game.  His presence on the court serves two purposes.  For one, it would give the Chicago backcourt players a little time to rest, which is much needed.  Secondly, it would provide the team with a tremendous confidence boost to see their leader back on the court with them ready to go to war. The excuse that Rose is not playing because he isn’t “mentally” ready to go is a weak one, and it is because of this attempt at justification that he is being - rightfully so - targeted by fans and media as a soft player.  With his entire team battling through injuries, Rose is sitting in a suit on the sidelines as a cheerleader. Leaders play through injury.  We’ve seen it time and time again with the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, and hell – half of the current Chicago roster of which none are superstars! Derrick Rose is doing his team a disservice on the biggest stage.  Sure, his teammates have and will stood up for him in the press.  That’s what teammates and friends do – they stand up and defend even when they know you are in the wrong.  But as for the rest of us, be it fans or the media, it is clear as day to see that Rose is being selfish, childish, and weak for not strapping up and getting on the floor when his employer’s top doctors have unanimously agreed that he is at no further risk of re-injury by playing. Getting paid $94.31 million over five years means your leeway for making excuses goes out the window once the check is written.  Rose left it all out on the floor, as they say, when he went down with the ACL injury.  He has physically recovered.  Unfortunately for Chicago fans, it looks like he left his heart somewhere too, and it is nowhere to be found in 2013.
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