What to expect from Derrick Rose day one

The difference between the Bulls being one of the top few teams in the league and being a team sitting around 10th will be in how well Derrick Rose comes back from his torn ACL. Typically, expectations are fairly limited with what a guy can do day one, but Rose presents an interesting case in terms of expectations.

Framing the overall recovery

The torn ACL used to be a career ender, and if you've watched sports intently enough to follow sports injuries for more than a decade, then you probably still have some significant fear in your mind about just how well Rose will recovery from the ACL surgery at all.

I remember the hushed tones that would follow any player with an ACL tear and much like Greg Oden's potential, that fear hung around the words ACL is so great that it significantly outstrips what the present day reality is.

With a player as young as Derrick, the expectation should be that he has a complete and full recovery. Rose is somewhat unique in that we haven't seen an NBA player of his caliber tear an ACL since the advances in the repair methodology.

In that sense, the quality of Rose's overall return still has more fear wrapped around it than might be warranted, but I've seen ACL tears ruin enough careers that I'll still carry that fear around with me until I see him back at 100% even if it isn't completely rational.

The case for ass whupping Rose day one

The biggest difference between Derrick Rose and most players returning from an ACL these days is the total time off. Ignore the stir Rose caused by sitting out the end of last season with the injury, and what we have is a player who will have had 511 days (1 year, 4 months, 23 days) between his surgery date and his first preseason game.

He'll have been running full contact practices with the team for over three months prior to last season ending which shows his physical recovery was nearing completion nearly nine months prior to the tip off of that first game. He had a chance to go hard in practice for several months before entering a normal off-season stage.

Derrick's gotten to focus the entire last year and a half on his body physically. His recovery obvious took up a good chunk of that time, but part of recovery is strengthening the body. Rose won't be worn down from another year of a tough physical grind and punishment with off-season to recuperate, but rather exits a very pro-longed strengthening period.

He'll be entering that first game after spending around nine months adding strength and skills (beyond the basic physical recovery).

The case for Rose taking awhile

It's the speed of the game. It can't be mimicked. It can't be duplicated. It can't be adjusted to quickly. That seems to be the primary reason people think Rose will take awhile to get up to snuff.

After being out of the game for a full season, Derrick will take time to get his timing down, because no matter how hard you work, you simply can't simulate what it feels like to do the same type of moves/shots in a live game situation.

My best guess

When trying to write the case for Rose taking awhile, it just feels so flimsy. The whole NBA will becoming of of a five month break. Everyone will need to get their timing back. That's what training camp and preseason are for. Sure the game aren't as intense, but the whole league will need to readjust to that intensity after a prolonged break.

Do you think Tom Thibodeau will be running camps at 1/4 pace? The Bulls will go hard, likely harder than most teams, and Derrick will go hard with them.

Unless Derrick has a huge mental block, the length of his physical recovery combined with a month of training camp and a month of preseason games should be more than enough time to get over the "I'm scared to go hard" thought process and his body was likely physically ready to go hard seven plus months ago.

If Rose isn't playing at an elite level within a few weeks then it tells me one of a few things:
1: Rose didn't work hard in his rehab. There's no reason he shouldn't be as physically ready as he'll ever be if he did.
2: The injury will have permanently rendered him less than he was.
3: Rose has a huge mental thing going in with his recovery that he's still struggling with.
4: It's simply an unfortunately timed cold stretch any player can have that we make too much of because of Rose's circumstances.

Reasons one and two just strike me as unlikely. I think Derrick likely worked very hard in his rehab and modern ACL recovery is such that a permanently lessening of his ability doesn't seem all that likely to me.

The mental gap is possible, but returning at the start of a season makes it so much more likely that this isn't an issue because he gets to slowly step into everything.

Maybe Rose will just show some rust or hit a cold patch, but he's the type of player who plays through those things by attacking the basket. If his shot is just a bit off then we should be able to see that and differentiate between whether Rose is playing poorly due to a physical limitation or just having a rough stretch.

In the end, my guess is that we see Derrick Rose at near full ability right out the gates. Perhaps it's just blind optimism, but I think he'll be ready to put the league on notice in that first game and remind the Heat that the Bulls will be a force to be reckoned with again.

Filed under: Players

Tags: chicago bulls, derrick rose, nba


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  • Even if it takes Rose a month or two of real game experience to regain his feel for everything, that is no big deal. Just so he comes back 99% or more. He said he was aiming for 110%.

    MJ lost a bit athletically later in his career, but he became smarter and adjusted his game to compensate. We do not yet know if Rose will need to do that, but it might be desirable even if unnecessary. Look at Wade and his knees. If Rose slows down a bit (not a lot), drives less, and shoots better, that may translate to longevity for his career. Could be a good trade-off.

    As I understand the ACL repair, it is the connection rather than the ligament itself that is the issue. That should now be as strong as it is going to get.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Good point about changing his game to extend the longevity of his career.

    The ACL should be healed. It's the time off that slows down peak-performing athletes. Use it or lose it, as they say with muscles. Rose probably had a 40 inch vertical leap before the injury. If so, I suspect that his jump is only about 35-38 now. Maybe he'll hit is absolute peak again by the beginning of the season. Maybe mid-season. Maybe never. Who knows.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I am very skeptical about Rose changing his game to extend his career. He's simply not that good of a shooter, so he'd really need to reinvent himself. Few players have ever done that successfully.

  • He already has an outstanding floater, so I expect to see more of that this season and probably less barreling into the lane. But who knows, if he is stronger as some reports indicate then he may keep doing so.

  • Looking forward to Rose playing in those meaningless pre-season games.

  • I will continue to say that there's still too much pressure being puton Rose especially now after his ACL injury to be the Bulls number one option and go to guy. He's a point guard and no way in hell should be the number1 option. The Bulls lost 2 scoring options in Nate and Marco and added Mike Dunleavy who happens to be ok just not a go to guy. Dunleavy imo is more of a three point set up scorer , hes older than both Nate and Marco, and he has also had a history of injury problems. I hopethat I'm wrong about the Bulls upcoming season and they won't take a step back with everyone being healthy, but again...to me there's just too much pressure being put on Rose at the position that he plays and after coming off of a major injury. Butler and Deng are going to have to have a big year in scoring if the Bulls are looking to be at the top of the east this year. At least second or third in the east.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Reese - yes you are correct that there is a lot of pressure. However, you don't sign a deal like he did with no pressure.

    Look, 3-peating is tough. The Bulls were fortunate to do it twice. Miami will not win again this year. They shouldn't have won last year and I think in 2012 Chicago could have taken them out in the ECF if Rose is healthy. I think a healthy Chicago will give Miami fits, as always.

    The 2011 ECF was VERY close and could have easily gone 7 games rather than only 5. Heck, the Bulls could have won the series.

    Now, Asik is gone, but the Bulls still have size and rebounding advantages against most teams. And, shooting should be improved. I expect Rose to be more efficient and possibly shoot 36-38% from 3. Hinrich, Butler, Deng and Dunleavy can shoot from range, too, giving better floor spacing than guys like Bogans and Brewer. Snell could surprise with some minutes only due to his shooting. (and ability to play D.) I know Korver is gone, but he was a defensive mismatch. Dunleavy is better because of his size and length.

    And, Butler is just WAY better than anyone that played the 2G for Chicago in years past. His shooting is better than anyone thought and he should be a lock for 1st team all-defense.

    And, say what you want about Deng, but I think he'll be healthy and motivated to kick some ass this year. I look for him to have a season comparable to 2010-2011.

    I look for Rose and the Bulls to send a message on opening night. Who in the entire NBA has a significantly better shot than Chicago? I think Rose will win his 2nd MVP, partially because the Bulls will lock up the top seed in the East and partially because he is by far the best player on his team. He'll also garner support because it will be a good comeback story.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    There's not 10 guys in the NBA better than Rose at being a #1 option, if we're waiting around hoping for the Bulls to get one of those 10 guys then good luck.

  • I don't expect to see 25ppg nor the powerful running back ripping through the defense and scoring in the hole. What I want to see is better shooting from both midrange and 3pt along with using his floater more. I read he worked hard on his shooting and hopefully it shows early in the season. 18ppg with better efficiency would be great in my book.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Exactly. I'd take 20ppg and 10 asts with better shooting and turnover efficiency. I think leading the Bulls to the #1 seed with those numbers gives him MVP. I think he can be MVP again, just not so sure how efficient Rose can be since it's not really his game. Just some improvement would be nice. Getting more FTs and shooting a higher FG and 3p % would be nice.

  • That is, if mentally he's ready to play. He seems to call the shots, doesn't he?

  • All the projections are moot. We need to separate near-term to long-term. He may shoot jumpers more, may dish more, may not go to the lane quite as much....until the playoffs. And thats what we need from him, the ability to distinguish between regular season and playoffs as so many NBA teams do (Heat, Spurs) And don't sleep on what the kid says. He said not that long ago "why can't I be the MVP" then became MVP. He recently said "I'm the best player in the NBA", and I for one will not doubt him.

  • I tend to think Derrick comes back strong,but I don't think he'll ever be an efficient scorer.... Unfortunately, he is the goto guy as the clock winds down and thus, he'll be stuck having to jack a bunch of low percentage shots.

  • My hope for this season is that Thibs doesn't grind Derrick (nor Noah, Deng, Butler, anybody) into dust with 40 mpg. NBA Championships are not won in the regular season, but Thibs just doesn't get it. He didn't understand in Boston, and he doesn't understand in Chicago. Thibs is stubborn to a fault.

    Only if no Bulls are anywhere near the league lead in minutes can we say Thibs has evolved and learned one of the requirements to win a championship - That is, GET TO THE PLAYOFFS HEALTHY AND RESTED!!

  • In reply to Edward:


    As a significant side benefit, the kids will develop faster.

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