Derrick, Please sit!
April 28th 2012. A date that all Bulls fans are sure to remember. It is the date that our MVP, our franchise player, suffered a devastating knee injury changing the outlook of the 2012/13 Chicago Bulls. Gone are key pieces of the Bench Mob that helped the Bulls lead the NBA in wins in each of the last two seasons. Roses injury completely changed the direction the Bulls front office decided to go with this off season. Bulls VP John Paxson and GM Gar Forman knew with Derrick likely to miss most of, if not all of, this season they had NO shot to compete for a NBA title. With that being said the Bulls have been better than expected. With a 36-31 record and 6th in the average ( outside of Miami ) Eastern Conference Chicago is primed to make a run in the playoffs when Rose comes back. My question is should Derrick come back this year?
Derrick has repeatedly expressed patience during his long and grueling rehab. Rose has been medically cleared to play basketball by the Bulls team doctors and those doctors have said that Rose is at no further risk than any other player in the NBA. So what is the hold up then? The hold up is Derrick himself. Rose came out a couple weeks ago and said that he is not "mentally ready to play". He has stated that he will not come back until he can go out on the court and "react and not think about the knee". Derrick has been receiving a lot of criticism for not being back yet but I think he is absolutely making the right decision. Minnesota PG Ricky Rubio suffered a similar knee injury last season as did Iman Shumpert of the Knicks. Both of those players are already back but you can tell by watching them play that they are not quite right. Rubio is just now starting to look like his old self 12 months after his knee injury. As for Shumpert, who injured his knee on the same day as Rose, he is still struggling.
Most doctors will tell you that it can take any where from 12-18 months for a reconstructed knee to be fully healed. Now that type of prognosis is for the average person. We all know that professional athletes are not your average people. They are genetically gifted and typically have a higher tolerance of pain than us regular folk. As for Rose he has and continues to put the work in physically he just needs to put the work in mentally. The only work Rose can do mentally, to gain that trust in his knee, is to go out and test it which he does everyday in practice. Rose doesn't want to come back and only be 90% of the player that he was. Rose wants to make sure that when he does come back he is the same player that won the 2010/11 NBA MVP. Which he will not be if he comes back this year.
I know Bulls fans want desperately for Derrick Rose to come back this year and help lead the Bulls on a late season surge and a playoff push. With a healthy Derrick Rose the Bulls may be the only team in the East that can challenge the Miami Heat in a 7 game series. We need to forget about this season and focus on next season and the 5 after that. This is a lost season. Bulls management knew that as soon as they saw Rose laying on the United Center floor grabbing his shredded knee. Sure Derrick could come back, lead the Bulls on a nice late season surge, but lets be honest with ourselves. Bulls are not going to beat Miami in a 7 game series. Now I am not saying that Rose should sit out the year because Chicago can't beat Miami. What I am saying is that Rose should sit out because knee injuries are career threatening. This isn't like when Michael Jordan broke his foot and came back just in time for the playoffs. I wish it was. We are talking about an injury that used to end players careers. A injury that takes a long time to recover from both physically and mentally. Let us not forget that Rose missed 27 games last season due to turf toe, lower back issues, and a hamstring problem. I say let Rose take a full year off from basketball. Let his body heal. Let that knee heal completely to the point like it had never been torn. Rose will then have a full off season and training camp to get himself ready for next season. A season that will see the REAL Derrick Rose. Until then I beg you Derrick PLEASE SIT!!