Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jim Young
By now all of you reading this know the whole story behind Derrick Rose’s injury. You know about the torn ACL. You know about the long road he endured. And you know about how he has delayed his return to the NBA, but no one really knows why. Some suspect there has been a snag in the recovery that he has kept secret, and others just chalk it up to calling Rose a wussy. I’m not writing here trying to speculate what is bothering him these days; I’m writing to tell you that it has come to the point where it does not matter, and that he must come back.
The Bulls have gotten this far in the playoffs only because of their coach, Tom Thibodeau. His brilliant defensive mind was just enough to beat the Brooklyn Nets in round 1, but he won’t be enough if Chicago has any hopes of taking down the defending champs. Yes, the Bulls stole Game 1 versus the Heat, thanks to a surprising 27-point performance from Nate Robinson. The Heat were caught off-guard and before they could gather themselves to stage a comeback, the clock struck zero.
In Game 2, LeBron decided to go beast mode and dominate every facet of the game. He and the Heat were out to make a statement, and that they did. Vegas odds makers dubbed the Heat as 12-point favorites, and to the dismay of those taking the Bulls, Miami won the game by 37. Miami pulled away early in the 2nd half, and closed out the 3rd quarter up 29.
The 4th quarter seemed to be a let out of frustration. Early on Chris Anderson appeared to clearly goaltend Taj Gibson’s shot attempt, but the referees ignored the obvious. What followed was Joakim Noah proceeding to go into a tirade on the referee, resulting in his ejection. While Ray Allen was at the line for the technical free throw Taj Gibson figured Noah was lonely in the locker room and then went on to get himself thrown out as well. If I were Derrick Rose and I was watching my teammates getting their asses handed to them in embarrassing fashion, I wouldn’t be able to sit back and watch anymore. Now I understand that the injury he is coming back from is extremely serious, but when it comes to the playoffs and you are medically cleared to play, then there is no excuse but to suit up.
As the series shifts to Chicago, the Bulls, despite their blowout loss, control their own destiny. Unfortunately, with the team they currently are putting on the floor (No Hinrich, Deng, or Rose) I don’t see the Bulls winning any more than one game. If Rose were to return I still see Miami winning in seven games, but it would return the respect everyone has taken back from him since his absence.
Over the past two weeks we have seen two instances of players coming back from serious injuries because they wanted to be there for their teams in the playoffs. One instance was David Lee, who decided to tough it out after suffering a fully torn hip flexor. Lee’s return did wonders for the Warriors in their first round series with the Nuggets as it helped propel them to a series victory. Lee has barely played because head coach Mark Jackson does not feel comfortable in playing him versus the Spurs with such an injury, but Lee’s willingness to play has done the job in sparking his teammates play. The other instance of a player dealing with a serious injury is Sidney Crosby currently playing with a broken jaw. Not only is he playing, but he is excelling and just recently scored in the Penguins 4-0 Game 5 win over the Islanders. Playing with a broken jaw in hockey seems illogical, but a true winner plays through the pain to achieve greatness.