After Taj Gibson aggravated a sprained MCL and noted that "this is what happens when you rush back to try to help the team", a flurry of thought hit the Bulls blog-o-sphere that Derrick Rose should obviously be shut down, because he could re-injure himself if he comes back. After all, Taj Gibson was medically cleared to play right?
Other than in inherent fear that Derrick will hurt himself if he plays and Gibson's story supporting that fear, there's really nothing to relate the situations.
Taj Gibson hasn't been doing full court five on five practices for the past five weeks in preparation for his return.
Taj Gibson hasn't taken two months longer than other players with similar injuries.
Taj Gibson was likely cleared by a team doctor and hot his personal physician.
Taj Gibson has a totally different injury all together.
None of this means that Derrick Rose should play, but just like it's unfair to equate Adrian Peterson's recovery to Derrick Rose, it's just as unfair to equate Taj Gibson's aggravation of his knee injury to Derrick Rose to start creating additional fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
My stance on Rose is something like this:
Derrick needs to make the ultimate decision of when he feels healthy enough to play.
There's no point where it is too late for him to come back once he feels up to it.
He should come back as soon as he feels up to it both to prepare himself for next year and to fulfill his contract this year.
I interpret Rose's delay as meaning one [or a combination] of a few things, and they mostly suck for Bulls fans.
Rose is pissed at the organization
Perhaps Reggie Rose is correct and Derrick is upset at the organization for not bringing in better players and letting key guys on the bench go. If so, maybe he should re-examine his willingness to recruit guys, but beyond that, this is the worst case scenario for Bulls fans.
Chicago is largely handcuffed for a couple years, and if Derrick is really pissed, they'll have a hard time soothing him in the near future. On top of that, a pissed off Rose is more likely to want to leave for another team.
And finally, if Rose is really not playing because he's pissed about the roster, then deep down he'd join my list along with Vince Carter among the league's historically most selfish, whiny, loser bitches. Quite frankly, I struggle to think of a behavior that's less acceptable than refusing to play because you don't like managerial decision making, particularly when you announce to the world that you're not going to recruit because you're hands off.
I find this situation to be extremely unlikely. I hope it's unlikely. I love Derrick Rose, and I'd hate to think of him in that light, but my love for Rose isn't so great that I'm willing to throw out all standards of behavior just because he's good at basketball.
I don't mind if Rose is pissed about the roster, he has ever right to be. We're all pissed about it. However, if that's the reason he's not playing then he's taking it way too far. Again, I don't think Rose would do that to his teammates though.
Rose is mentally weak
Perhaps Derrick is ready to go, but he's simply scared and can't get over it. He's noted himself that the problems are largely mental while still saying he doesn't feel entirely right with his leg and experiences pain.
If Derrick Rose doesn't have as much mental toughness as Iman Shumpert and Ricky Rubio then we're probably in pretty big trouble. While he'll eventually get over the mental side of this injury, you'll wonder how this will play out in other areas of his career going forward. Mentally weak guys aren't alpha dogs on championship teams.
Rose is legitimately not physically ready to come back
Rose may not be ready to come back because he's simply still feeling too much pain to do so.
While he's still in the official recovery time range for his injury, he's long past the point where most athletes are prepared to play their sport again. If he's still having more physical problems than the next guy at this point, the fear of the injury permanently healing poorly have to come up.
My hope is that when Rose is working out that the trainers / staff working with him are noting whether he's distributing his weight properly as he runs, jumps, and plays. Is he viewed as recovered because his ACL is strong, or is his whole body strong enough and symmetrical enough to play basketball?
If Derrick is compensating to make up for his leg still because he doesn't have balanced even strength then the Bulls and Derrick Rose are probably in trouble. In this case, sitting out is clearly the best decision and his rehab should continue all off-season until he has the proper balance on both sides of his body and can play without compensating.
Still, the fact that he might not be there yet is worrisome.
Rose has unreasonable expectations
He's noted that he wants to come back like "Derrick Rose" and not as a shell of himself. He wants to be 110%, and besides the typical athlete exaggeration here, it's possible (likely?) that he may not come back at 100% ever.
This is probably the best case scenario for Bulls fans as it shows he simply has high standards placed on himself and wants to live up to them. Whether he can or cannot do so we'll only tell through time, but this scenario doesn't pull any negative consequences into the future and only hurts us in the short term.
So what's really going on with Derrick? We have no way to know. I don't know whether it's a good decision for Rose to come back or not, but I do know that Taj Gibson's knee injury isn't relevant. I also know that most of the reasons for the delay don't make me feel warm and fuzzy about Rose's career even if it is the right decision.