According to long time Bulls writer Melissa Isaacson, Derrick Rose has been cleared to play medically by his own Doctor, but he's holding out on getting in the game.
Derrick Rose's doctor has cleared the Chicago Bulls' star to play, a team source said, but his long-awaited return to the lineup won't occur until he can confidently dunk off his left foot, Rose has told the team.
Rose, who had surgery to repair a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on May 12, has been videotaped dunking off each foot, but more casually than he would during a game. A source said that although he has been practicing and scrimmaging hard, he told the Bulls that until he feels "in his mind" he can confidently dunk off his left foot in a game situation, he is not 100 percent mentally ready to return to competition.
The team is not pressuring Rose, the source said, but the Bulls are confident he will return this season and are still hoping for a mid-March return, which would mark 10 months after his surgery. The Bulls play at Golden State on March 15.
The source said the team has been assured by Rose's doctor that there is no more chance of the former MVP getting injured upon his return than anyone else and that the doctor told the Bulls that physically "he can play now." Rose is now dealing with the psychological side of trusting his body.
A few interesting things:
1: The Bulls clearly are pressuring Rose to play. If they weren't, they wouldn't have leaked the information that his own doctor cleared him to play.
2: If Derrick Rose has been medically cleared to play and is no longer at further risk to injure himself (per his own doctor, not the Bulls doctor) then he should play at some point this season.
I'm all for Derrick sitting out while he has an increased medical risk. I'm also fine with him taking his time to get mentally fit. However, at some point, and some point this year, it's on Derrick to come back.
Derrick deserves to get his head right. He deserves to feel confident. However, the Bulls deserve for him to play. He's paid to play basketball. He's capable of play basketball. There's no longer a risk associated with his injury. You add that up, and he should be on the court shortly.
Rose obviously deserves some leeway, and by all accounts, he's gotten it. I get that he wants to come back at 110% and drop 30/12 on his first night back. However, despite the fact that it's less sexy for Adidas to have Rose look more human in his return, the Bulls can use him now. With his medical risk deemed over by his doctors his loyalty should be to the team that needs him and the fans that want him rather than the media who may paint his return as less successful if he struggles some.
It's not a big deal if Derrick delays another week, another two weeks, but if he sits out the rest of this season while being medically cleared for over two months then I'll be very disappointed in him. Derrick owes us more than that. He owes the Bulls more than that. Fortunately, I'm very confident he'll give more than that too.