In the waning moments of game one Derrick Rose sets up a pick and roll, one of his go-to plays. Noah lays down a pick on Jrue Holiday, leaving Spencer Hawes to switch onto one of the most dangerous men in the league, especially while driving. Hawes immediately starts back pedaling and everyone has seen this type of play hundreds of times from Rose. He hesitates left and freezes Hawes, Rose then hop steps right to set up the go-to floater. Upon landing his ACL is obliterated and he keeps his head and throws a bail-out pass to Carlos Boozer, immediately leaving Rose seething in pain on the ground. You can almost see the air being sucked out of the stadium and out of the city of Chicago. We all know the scene and this moment has been played over and over by the Adidas ad campaign “The Return.” Now it is indeed a big moment when Rose makes his return to the hardwood, especially now when the Bulls have been struggling as of late, but I’m not sure that is the best move for him.
When he comes back people will be supportive and understand he won’t be up to MVP caliber right away and they really should taper their expectations a bit for him. If you’ve watched ESPN in the past five years you will have seen the best player in the league hands down, Lebron James get ridiculed for being “unclutch” or “can’t carry a team” which is absurd, would Derrick Rose start hearing that about him, even though he has a much better team surrounding him then Lebron did in Cleveland? Derrick Rose is also a very emotional, wears his heart on his sleeve kind of player, how would he react to that? If you’re not ready to shoulder the burden again of an entire city, don’t rush back just to appease analysts. Most people are on his side in his decision not to be back quite yet, but in an incredibly fickle league that booed Lebron for leaving Cleveland, and boo Kris Humphreys for marrying Kim Kardashian, it might be just a matter of time before they turn on him and question his toughness.
If you’ve never had knee injury of this magnitude, then I’m not sure if you can fully understand how tough it can be at times to get back. Being a professional athlete and being in peak physical condition to have your body betray you, is a tough thing to get over mentally. Not to mention that you were fine earlier that day walking and running around to being shut down for several months while you recover. It amazes me when athletes come out and say that they just stayed in a good place mentally and always thought positively about getting back, it’s complete BS. Just about every person to have a significant knee injury like this has a bad day during the recovery process somewhere. Another reason Rose should wait until he is ready is his game is based primarily off explosiveness, unlike Rubio who made his return earlier this season. Rubio’s game is mostly a grounded game and very little has to do with him making explosive cuts and quick bursts of speed, and with all that in mind Rubio has been returning to form since the all-star break, which took two and a half months of minute regulating and subpar performances.
I’d understand if Rose doesn’t make the return this season, especially since playoffs is a more physical style of basketball, can risk re-injury if his leg is still weak and isn’t completely up to the task of possibly landing awkwardly. What I’d like to see is Rose make his debut in a less meaningful game. Maybe targeting April 5th Magic game to make the first appearance for around 14minutes of play, just to get out there and see some game speed again. Plus you’re at home and it’d make the Chicago fans go berserk. To Derrick Rose, wish you the best on your return and don’t beat yourself up if you play worse than expected.
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